Did you know?
Over half of all parents report feeling lonely either sometimes (36%), often (13%) or always (3%).
Parents of young children have continued to feel lonelier as the pandemic has continued; those who feel always/often lonely increased from 9% in October 2020 to 16% in May 2021.*
What concerns parents most about their loneliness is the impact on their mental health and well-being (46%), which is more of concern to women (55%) than to men (36%).
Over half of parents feel that contact in person with their friends and family is the most important way they could be supported when feeling lonely (59%).
When asked what parents want their friends and family to do, 23% said they just wanted them to text, call or reach out more frequently, highlighting that there are really simple ways we can all help parents we know with young children to feel less lonely and to support their well-being.
In October 2020 Ipsos MORI conducted an online survey of 1,000 parents of 0–5-year-olds which asked how often they felt lonely, with 9% responding “Always/Often”. In the May 2021 YouGov online survey, 1,430 parents of 0–5-year-olds were also asked how often they felt lonely, with 3% responding “Always” and 13% responding “Often”.
State of the Nation survey
State of the Nation 5 Big Insights:
Answering the 5 Big Questions, 98% of people believe that nurture is essential to lifelong outcomes, but just one in four recognises the specific importance of the first five years of a child’s life.
According to the survey, 90% of people see parental mental health and well-being as critical to a child’s development, but in reality people do very little to prioritise themselves. Only 10% of parents mentioned taking the time to look after their own well-being when asked how they had prepared for the arrival of their baby. Worryingly, over a third of all parents (37%) expect the COVID-19 pandemic to have a negative impact on their long-term mental well-being.
Some 70% of parents feel judged by others, and among these parents nearly half feel that this negatively affects their mental health.
Parental loneliness has dramatically increased during the pandemic, from 38% before to 63% as parents have been cut off from friends and family. The increase in loneliness for parents is more apparent in the most deprived areas. Compounding this, it seems that there has been a rise in the proportion of parents who feel uncomfortable seeking help for how they are feeling, from 18% before the pandemic to 34% during it.
Across the UK, communities have united powerfully to meet the challenges of unprecedented times, and 40% of parents feel that community support has grown. However, parents in the most deprived areas are less likely to have experienced this increased support (33%) than elsewhere.