Media Release: Befriending Week highlights how befrienders beat loneliness

Befriending photo scaled

FOLLOWING the recently-published Scottish Government report on Age and Isolation, Scottish charity, Health in Mind, is urging people to get involved in Befriending Week which runs from 1 to 7 November.

The week highlights the work being done to beat loneliness and isolation.

Says a spokesperson: “Loneliness costs lives. It is linked to a range of chronic conditions, including high blood pressure and depression and more than doubles the risk of developing dementia. On average, ten per cent of the population aged over 65 are chronically lonely.

“Nor is it just an issue for elderly people; research shows that up to half of younger people are lonely too.”

Supported by NHS Lothian and the City of Edinburgh Council, Health in Mind’s six specialist befriending services are working in Edinburgh to beat loneliness, with the help of eighty volunteer befrienders who do a brilliant job.

They spend time with people who are lonely for a variety of reasons such as bereavement, physical health difficulties, mental ill-health, being at risk of homelessness or from a minority ethnic community.

Health in Mind is using Befriending Week to promote their work and to raise awareness of the positive impact volunteer befrienders have on the lives of the people they support.

Health in Mind’s specialist services are:

  • Community Connecting which is for anyone over 65 and living in Edinburgh and supports older people to rebuild lost confidence by matching them with a volunteer.
  • re:discover, is currently available to anyone feeling isolated due to experiencing mental ill health and living in Edinburgh.
  • Community Navigator is for people over 65 and living in South West Edinburgh. They will work with our Community Navigator and her team of friendly local volunteers who support people to find out what is on in their local area, meeting up in local libraries.
  • MAPS (My Assets and Personal Strengths) provides group support to identify aspects of personal and community life to help people maintain positive mental health and wellbeing.
  • HPS Connections provides advice and support for vulnerable households and people who are in danger of becoming homeless and living in South and East Edinburgh.
  • Equal Access provides support, information and signposting to services for people from minority ethnic communities.

The services help to change the lives of many people and one of our service users said:

“I’ve got so much from having a befriender. Now that I’m doing so well I’m really keen to give something back and volunteer myself.”

You can show your appreciation of befrienders, and their work towards beating loneliness, in one click of your mouse.

An online befriending ‘Thunderclap’ will be launched on 6 November at 12 noon.

By clicking this link – – all your social media contacts will receive the Thunderclap at the same time, which means they will see a message about what befriending is and why we need it.

During Befriending Week, Health in Mind will be hosting an event for their befriending volunteers and on Wednesday 4 November, anyone can take part in a special Speed Friending event.

Described as being like ‘speed dating without the rejection’ the aim of Speed Friending is for people to get together and enjoy chatting to each other.

It will take place at Starbucks in Shandwick Place, Edinburgh from 5.30 to 7.30pm with a suggested donation of £3 per person.

More information about Health in Mind’s services can be found at

If you would like to talk about becoming a befriender, please contact


MEDIA RELEASE issued by Health in Mind. You too can share your stories (aka press or media releases), on Email here for more information.

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Health in Mind contact details…

Contact: Doreen Graham
Phone: 07590009953