Effects of loneliness examined in experiment

Loneliness campaign web

A young man was challenged to 'Go it Alone' for a week 

22nd September 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The effects that loneliness can have on health is being examined in a new film.

The charity Campaign to End Loneliness and creative agency BMB have launched a thought-provoking new campaign designed to raise awareness around the UK’s growing loneliness epidemic and to help end the stigma surrounding it.

In the hard-hitting social experiment, a young man is challenged to ‘Go It Alone’ for an entire week with no phone, no wifi and no contact with the outside world whilst keeping a video diary throughout. 

The resulting film intimately captures the young Londoner Joe’s struggle with solitude as he slowly comes to terms with loneliness and isolation.

After a soul-sapping seven long days of seclusion from society, the young man is taken to meet his neighbour Barry, a retired journalist who has written extensively on the subject since the tragic loss of his wife, Christine. The two men share their personal experiences of loneliness in a heartfelt exchange and discuss ways of combating the issue.

The campaign comes off the back of research commissioned by the charity, which has revealed that 9 in 10 people (89%) believe loneliness in older age is more likely now than ever – with over half of British adults saying that admitting to loneliness is difficult. Half a million older people go at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all.

Marcus Rand, Director of Development and Communications at CTEL, said: “This film is all about revealing some of the impacts of loneliness in a daring new way. It will create empathy and drive actions - the key ingredients to help us end loneliness.”

Barry Ward, 84, who took part in the project, said: “Loneliness is like grief; it’s suffocating. After my beloved wife Christine suddenly died, I felt only half alive. I felt paralysed by loneliness.

“By talking more about it, we can break down the stigma that prevents many older people from being open about loneliness. The human need for friendship and support does not go away with age; it actually increases. Whether we are 24 or 84, we all need connections that matter.”

Counterpart Joseph Lindoe, 27, said: “Of course, it's difficult to say exactly how I found it, it was a very interesting process, difficult at times but a very informative look at how people are affected by socialisation, or a lack thereof.

“It certainly reaffirmed a few things I knew about myself and how I operate better around others, but also how important it is to feed those relationships and not let yourself get too complacent and isolated just because it's tricky sometimes.”