There can be so much disappointment and loneliness because we are encouraged to aspire and have ambitions - and then what happens when we fail? The Loneliness Connects Us report, by Manchester Metropolitan University and the young person's mental health charity 42nd Street, suggests youngsters often feel isolated and lonely when they fail to live up to expectations.

"Maybe exam results aren't good enough. The ideal you've been built up for - like being a footballer, being a doctor - doesn't happen."

This 20-year-old woman, interviewed for a study on youth loneliness, captures the sense of pressure and isolation many young people say they feel.

The youth-led research project - which specifically recruited young researchers aged 14 to 25 to interview 140 youngsters from a diverse range of backgrounds - found a range of issues increased levels of youth loneliness, particularly:

  • the fear of failure and disappointing others
  • pressures from social media
  • major life changes, such as family break-up or moving away from home
  • poverty
  • feeling different, particularly for LGBT youth.

The report says that "loneliness itself is often a source of shame and stigma in a world which seems to require the performance of happiness and success".

Read the full article on Loneliness Connects Us by Katherine Sellgren at BBC