Our society today is facing a new mental health challenge – an epidemic of loneliness. We are the most connected generation in history and yet, the loneliest. The result is a staggering increase in depression, anxiety and suicide rates. Loneliness is not only a problem for elders; it is also prevalent among children and young adults. Here at Royal Palm Christian Counseling, we have encountered a growing pervasiveness of isolation and loneliness among children and teens. Genesis 2:18 tells us that “It is not good that man should be alone.” We were made for relationship, and children need relationships with parents, family and friends even more than adults. They discover their identity through relationships with God and loving adults.
Why is loneliness on the rise? Loneliness is accompanied by emotional suffering—the pain of feeling separate and disconnected. The rising divorce rate is a factor. The COVID pandemic is a big contributing factor. We are forced into isolation and social distancing. In the quest to feel less disconnected, we seek more virtual connections . Many kids, teens and adults are using social media to connect at an increasing rate. Isolation and loneliness can also result from a mob mentality on social media sites which reject persons with views outside of what the group dictates. This rejection and lack of acceptance can spiral into loneliness and insecurity.
Loneliness is a deeply conflicted sense of fear that one’s perceived relationships are being pulled and split apart, or worse, absent. This explains how divorce increases loneliness in children and teens. Loneliness reflects a state of insecure group status and belonging. It is a sense of incompleteness and insecurity. It can make one question their purpose and future . Feelings of incompleteness can also make one feel inferior. Sometimes, In children we counsel, we see acting out behavior with computer addiction which can lead to viewing dangerous web sites. This can affect them spiritually, mentally and emotionally for life, if not corrected.
Loneliness in adults may be triggered by deep-rooted feelings, including envy, greed, and jealousy. Something is either missing, lost or absent from their life, or they fear the loss. This may lead to forming inappropriate connections with people or things ( abusive relationships, addictions, obsessive behavior) to satisfy their needs rather than drawing from faith in God. David writes of his loneliness in the Psalms, turning to God and repenting. He understood that his sins were at the root of his distress, and only God could rescue him.
“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!” ~ Psalm 25:16-19 NIV
We need to point kids and adults struggling with loneliness towards God’s love to help them know they are needed, valued and uniquely created for God’s purposes. This is especially vital in helping kids and teens to know their identity and purpose. Relationships were created by God to refine our characters and for companionship. That companionship cannot exist, without a relationship with God.
God helps us with the human struggle we have with loneliness. We belong to Him and are not alone. This awareness that we belong to Another can be a great relief. It shifts focus from ourselves and our desires to pleasing God. This results in feelings of trust, security, and completeness with and through God.
Remember that God loves you because He chose to love you! Grow this relationship through communication with God in prayer and sharing and meditation on God’s word and promises.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:37-39 NIV
Each person’s emotional struggle is complex and unique. Christian counselors are skilled in helping you discover God’s way for your life. At Royal Palm Christian Counseling, we’re here for you. Call us at 239-939-0707 to schedule time for a session in person. We also offer video and tele-counseling for adults, children, and couples.
Colleen Shue M. Ed In Counseling,
Certified in Biblical Counseling and
Brain Health Coaching