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National Loneliness Campaign: experiences with loneliness

As you may be aware, FaithAction is proactively campaigning for the Government to recognise the role that faith groups play in reaching out to those who are isolated or lonely, by being welcoming, friendly and creating communities where people feel that they belong and have meaningful relationships.

This year, the government is going to deliver its National Loneliness Campaign. The campaign was borne out of recommendations from the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness – a cross-party group Jo set up herself before she was killed –  to tackle what has become a serious issue across all areas of society.

What the campaign is trying to do is essentially quite simple; it’s to break down the stigma that surrounds loneliness. Many reasons including shame and embarrassment, a desire not to burden others and an inability to express feelings can prevent people saying that they don’t have the social connections they need and so these people become more isolated and it becomes a vicious circle. Also transition points in people’s lives – moving to a new area, retiring from work, recovering from illness, losing a loved one – all can be incredibly lonely periods. Even people in families and with partners can be lonely, and not have the depth or quality of connection they really want. But it is vital we tackle loneliness as it has been proven to cause ill health, both physical and mental, from doubling the risk of dementia to increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

It is dangerous; it attacks the fabric of our society and communities; it puts our health service under undue stress. And yet it can be curbed if we start talking about it and treating it as what it is; as normal a human reaction as joy, anger, frustration or excitement.

In order to begin this conversation, the Government are asking people to share their stories of loneliness. To stand up and say, “Yes I am/was lonely. This is how it feels. This is why/how it happened to me.” We need to normalise it in order to neutralise it. This is where your story comes in.

The team working on the campaign are collecting a library of case studies to build the national understanding of loneliness but to also have a diverse collection of stories which can be offered to media outlets to feature in their digital, print and broadcast stories.

If you would like put forward your experience of loneliness, are happy to divulge your name and age and are aware you may need to be filmed/photographed if your particular story is picked up by the media, then please tell us by completing this online form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WYPRG86