The Loner

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MindEd provides free mental health e-learning for anyone who works or volunteers with children, teenagers or young people. The MindEd programme includes free online CAMHS training, counselling courses and mental health resources for teachers and health professionals.

This session explores social anxiety and shyness in children and teens. It describes why some children and young people may struggle to interact with others (the loner personality) and provides guidance on how best to support shy teenagers.

  • It is important for all children to develop both independence and the ability to interact socially, but this can be a challenge for some shy teens.
  • Some children prefer to be alone, they may have a loner personality, due to shyness or social and communication difficulties.
  • Some children end up alone because their peers choose not to interact with them; this is commonly due to bullying or conduct disorder.
  • There are a wide variety of support strategies we can offer to loners in order to improve their social interactions. Once we understand the reason for the child's loneliness we can put the most appropriate support in place.
  • Some children go from being well adjusted socially to spending more time alone; this can be a sign of abuse, neglect or the development of mental health difficulties.
  • If there is a fear that a child is isolating themselves due to abuse, neglect or mental health difficulties, then the problem should be escalated and support sought from social services or the child and adolescent mental health service.

Access the full MindEd session here.
Content provided by MindEd. Author: Pooky Knightsmith. Published: March 2014. Review: March 2017.

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Document ID:
29129 (v2)
Last Checked:
09 February 2016
Next Review:
08 February 2019

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