Loneliness and Mental Health

G51 - ERI Building
Wednesday 18 May 2022 (12:00-13:30)

This is a public event on loneliness and mental health, sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy. The event is free and open to all.

About this event

We have known for some time that loneliness can be both a trigger for and a consequence of mental health issues, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessity of lockdowns have brought home the centrality of social connections for our wellbeing. In this public engagement event sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy, we ask three experts in philosophy and psychology to talk about the relationship between loneliness and mental health, which the Mental Health Foundation has chosen as the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week this year.

The event is free and open to all. Some complimentary refreshments will be available after the event. 


  • Michael Larkin: What is the difference that makes a difference to loneliness?
  • Lucienne Spencer: Epistemic injustice and loneliness in late-stage dementia
  • Ian James Kidd : Loneliness and interpersonal connection
  • Q&A 


Michael Larkin is a Reader in Psychology, at the Institute for Health and Neurodevelopment, Aston University, Birmingham. His research uses qualitative and phenomenological methods to understand the relational context of mental health difficulties, especially for young people and their families. He is a co-author of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory, Research, Method (Sage, 2021), with Jonathan Smith and Paul Flowers.

Lucienne Spencer is a postdoctoral researcher for a Wellcome Trust funded project entitled ‘Renewing Phenomenological Psychopathology’ at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Birmingham. This project is led by Matthew Broome and Giovanni Stanghellini. Her research interests include phenomenology, epistemic injustice, and the philosophy of psychiatry. She is also a member of the executive committee for SWIP-UK.

Ian James Kidd is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Nottingham. His research interests include the philosophy of somatic and psychiatric illness, empathy, and interpersonal understanding. At the moment, most of this work looks at experiences - like severe loneliness - which reveal the profound fragility of mortal creatures like ourselves. His website is www.ianjameskidd.weebly.com.

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