The new #LetsTalkLoneliness campaign, which is inspired by Jo Cox, has been launched as part of Loneliness Awareness Week. Here’s why it is so important to take notice of it.
This month marks the third anniversary of Jo Cox’s death, but the legacy she has left proves just how vital her work as an MP was. Among her social concerns, Cox campaigned for addressing loneliness in the UK, which is what inspired the annual Great Get Together weekend (21 – 23 June 2019). But the conversation around loneliness shouldn’t stop there.
A recent YouGov report shows that people in cities surveyed had a higher incidence of reporting feeling lonely than the UK overall (56% v. 44%). Alongside this 25% of adults have reported feeling lonely on weekends, with the evenings being the most likely time for people to feel lonely (16%). It also showed that young people aged 18-24 are most likely to say they have felt lonely (75%), compared to 63% of people aged 55 and over who said they never feel lonely. Previous research showed nearly three quarters (74%) of people said that when they felt lonely, they didn’t tell anyone despite most having someone they could count on.
So, what is being done to tackle this national issue?
This week the government has announced the Let’s Talk Loneliness Campaign on the recommendations of the Jo Cox Foundation. It aims to encourage everyone to start the conversation, say it’s OK to feel lonely and to talk about it. Loneliness Minister Mims Davies launched the cross-party campaign on Monday (17 June), which brings together charities, organisations and businesses. As part of Loneliness Awareness Week, the government has also announced it is partnering with the Co-op Foundation to match-fund a new £1.6 million initiative that supports activity in community spaces to promote social connections.
Davies said: “Loneliness is one of the biggest health challenges our country faces. It can affect anyone at any time and its impact is in line with smoking or obesity. But we can only begin to help one another if we feel able to understand, recognise and talk about it. Let’s Talk Loneliness will encourage us all to engage with this issue, speak up without stigma, spot the signs of loneliness and help build more meaningful connections so people feel less isolated.”
Whether you feel lonely or are looking for ways to help others, you can find out how to get involved with the Let’s Talk Loneliness campaign here. Or, maybe just make that call to an old friend and take that colleague for a coffee today - because every little action helps.