Feeling alone

Recent research has shown that an increasing number of students feel alone at school. Loneliness can be felt in different ways. Some students feel disconnected, despite being surrounded by family and friends. Others report feeling socially isolated and having no friends. Loneliness impacts on student wellbeing, causing higher rates of anxiety, poorer sleep, lower levels of motivation, and withdrawal from social interactions.

Schools are an ideal place to create safe, supported and connected communities. Loneliness at school has been linked to transitioning to secondary school, a reliance on technology for connection, changes in friendship groups, and feelings of disconnection. Building a school culture where relationships and connections are valued can make a significant difference.

Top tips for supporting your students

  • Develop a safe, supported and connected classroom environment where all students feel like they belong.

  • Encourage your students to become involved in school activities of interest, such as sports, debating, music, lunchtime clubs or social justice groups. Meeting like-minded students can increase feelings of belonging in our students.

  • Take the time to build relationships and connections with and among the students in your classroom. This can increase the sense of belonging and reinforce positive friendships.

  • Sit, listen to and try to understand the perspectives and needs of your students. Having a voice can be a key protective factor against loneliness. Encouraging a culture of diversity and inclusivity helps students to feel valued and connected at school.

  • Create school environments that safely support students when they feel like hanging out alone to read, listen to music or chill out. Placing bean bags in the library, and developing comfortable and visible hangout pods in the playground and chillout spaces in classrooms, can support this process.

Classroom activities

What’s in a name?

By learning the names of their classmates, students can form relationships and build a sense of connection and belonging.

Self-care hand

Identifying personal self-care strategies helps students to recognise the importance of looking after themselves.

The square

By working together as a class, students can feel connected to each other. This sense of connection can help them to feel less alone.

Random acts of kindness

Students think of and perform random acts of kindness for someone in their life or at school. Being kind to others can enhance students’ wellbeing and sense of being connected to those around them.

Circle chat: Inclusivity

Students reflect on inclusion as a human right and build on appreciating the contributions of others.

Resources for students

ReachOut works with young people across Australia to develop content. You could share some of these resources with your students.

Understanding how to stop feeling lonely

Loneliness can sometimes feel like it’ll never end. You may be surrounded by friends and family and still feel cut off from the world. But loneliness isn’t something that you have to manage on your own. Though it might be hard, there are things you can do to feel more connected to people around you.

10 things to do if you’re feeling lonely

The truth is, you can feel lonely anywhere, anytime. Read ReachOut’s guide to help you feel more connected to those around you.

Practical ways to make new friends

Whether you’re changing schools, starting uni or just not vibing on your current group of mates, everyone has to make new friends at some point. Meeting new people can be a nerve-racking experience. ReachOut has some practical tips to help.

ReachOut Forums – a safe and supportive online space to connect

ReachOut Forums is a supportive, safe and anonymous space where people care about what's happening for you, because they've been there, too.

Resources for parents and carers

ReachOut works with parents across Australia to develop content that helps them to support their young person. You could share some of these resources with your parent community.

Helping your teenager to make great friends

Parents and friends play different roles in the life of a teen. Where friends will introduce them to new ideas and ways of doing things, you can provide a secure grounding and strong values for their future. Good friends will have a positive effect on your teenager’s self-esteem, their interests and their attitudes, and give them a support network to rely on in addition to their family.

Effective communication and teenagers

As your child grows up, the way you communicate with them will need to change to reflect the new boundaries in your relationship created by their increasing independence. Effective communication with your teenager can help you both feel happier and more connected in your relationship, and more confident about having difficult conversations and resolving conflicts.

How to have a great conversation with your teenager

Sometimes communicating with teenagers can be tricky. We have some tips to help you keep the channels of communication open with your child.

Help your teenager to feel more confident

Improving your child’s self-esteem and confidence usually starts with identifying why they might feel down about themselves in the first place. By helping your child to understand that almost everyone has these kinds of experiences at some point, they can start to feel better about themselves.

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