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Curse of loneliness hitting our children

Modern life leaves people feeling increasingly isolated -- and more children are lonely -- says a mental health charity.

One in 10 often feel lonely and half think people are getting lonelier in general. More people are living alone than ever with the percentage of households occupied by one person doubling from 6pc in 1972 to 12pc in 2008.

The divorce rate also almost doubled in the past 50 years with figures showing one in three people would like to live closer to their family.

The research illustrated that feeling lonely was not only common among the elderly, said the research by Britain's Mental Health Foundation

Christopher Cloke, of the NSPCC, said: "Last year ChildLine received nearly 10,000 calls from children saying they felt lonely -- an increase of 60pc from five years ago.

"Loneliness has always been a part of some children's lives but it is deeply worrying that more children are contacting us about this."

Women are more likely than men to feel lonely sometimes (38pc compared with 30pc), according to the report. People feel pressure to be "productive and busy", and as a consequence neglect vital relationships with friends and family, researchers said.

Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: "Changes to the way we live are putting an increasing number of people at risk of loneliness, which can lead to health problems if chronic.

"People who find themselves feeling lonely should not have to feel uncomfortable talking about it or asking for help.

"By raising awareness of the subject we hope to tackle the stigma attached to loneliness and help individuals who are feeling lonely to connect with others."