SOCIAL media can be a major contributor to loneliness among young people, a Welsh youth charity has warned.

Lizzy Fauvel of Youth Cymru was speaking after a study found 82 per cent of those working with young people said loneliness was a major issue.

The research by UK Youth also found 73 per cent of youth workers said young people did not actively seek help to tackle loneliness, while 67 per cent said the organisations they work with provided services to help with the issue.

Miss Fauvel said, while loneliness and isolation is often seen as an issue facing the elderly, it was becoming increasingly prevalent among young people.

"Social media is a big thing with loneliness," she said.

"If you've not been invited out somewhere and you see your friends out on Snapchat it can be isolating.

"It's a massive problem which is not being recognised and it can affect mental health - but it can work both ways.

"If you've got mental health issues and you're sitting along in your room all the time it can cause loneliness. But if you're lonely sitting in your room all the time it can lead to mental health problems."

Although she said council-run youth services are vital with battling loneliness, Miss Fauvel said spending cuts had left many services underfunded, with charities and organisations such as the YMCA left to pick up the slack.

But she added: "You can be around people and still feel lonely.

"You can be trying to fit in with a group, but still feeling lonely.

"But it can be a bigger problem in the school summer holidays."

Head of impact and learning at UK Youth Phil Sital-Singh said: “Youth loneliness is one of the biggest issues facing young people across the country.

"Local youth organisations are – and have always been – well placed to be part of the solution.

"Our report found that youth workers have a wealth of experience, which helps to build a sense of belonging and social networks in a safe space where they are supported by a trusted adult.

"However, more needs to be done to support youth workers to be as effective as they can be."

For information on youth services in your area contact your relevant local authority. Youth Cymru can also provide help with accessing services. For information call 01443 827 840 or visit