Young people share tips to beat loneliness in the run up to a festive period dogged by Covid

Wednesday 15 December 2021

  • National campaign also receives backing from the National Union of Students and MeeToo mental health app 

Almost 150 young people have spoken out about how they’ve overcome loneliness as part of our Lonely Not Alone campaign. 

Stories highlighting the one small step young people have taken to feel better have been added as voice notes and text to our digital universe.  

Tips and suggestions from young people include: 

  • Using social media to connect to others with shared experiences, like chronic illness 
  • Reaching out to old friends, particularly in winter 
  • Being kinder to yourself. 

As Covid cases continue to rise and as more people are forced to self-isolate, the young co-designers at Lonely Not Alone hope these tips will come in handy for other young people experiencing loneliness this festive season.   

Helen, 21, a co-designer of the Lonely Not Alone campaign, said: “It’s really important to emphasise that loneliness doesn’t last forever because it is a really common and natural human experience.  I hope young people can learn from Lonely Not Alone that other people feel the exact same way they do and maybe putting this into words on our website will help.” 

Lonely Not Alone is our campaign made in partnership with young people and specialist co-design agency, Effervescent. 

Its digital universe was launched in mid-October and more than 40,000 people have visited so far to learn more about loneliness and find ways to feel better. 

Every story submitted to the site has been added as a shining star into the digital night sky. Stars are grouped into constellations that bring together young people with similar experiences. 

The universe goes on forever. Loneliness doesn’t have to. 

Co-op Foundation research¹ released this September found there are 1.9 million chronically lonely young people in the UK – 400,000 more than in August 2020. 85% of this group say loneliness negatively impacts on their mental wellbeing. 

Nick Crofts, CEO of the Co-op Foundation, said: “Our research shows that, without the right support, loneliness can have far reaching consequences for young people. We’re so proud of the impact of the Lonely Not Alone digital universe. It is a safe place to share and read stories, which will be increasingly important as young people break up for school for the festive period. I hope it’s a source of help and connection over the coming weeks.” 

Lonely Not Alone has also been backed by the National Union of Students and the MeeToo mental wellbeing app, which supports young people to talk anonymously about things like mental health and loneliness. Lonely Not Alone is now listed in its directory of organisations offering support. 

Larissa Kennedy, NUS National President said: “NUS are proud to support the Lonely Not Alone campaign, launched by the Co-op Foundation. This campaign shines vital light on the loneliness so many students experience, and the serious impact this can have on mental health and wellbeing.  It is so important for young people to feel able to talk about their experiences openly, without shame, and seek the support they need to feel better. This campaign does exactly that, inviting young people to share their stories for others to read and feel reassured they are not alone in their feelings. 

Michael McLaren, Youth Engagement lead at MeeToo, said: “Lonely Not Alone helps young people to visualise the issue of loneliness, learn from their peers and build resilience. The power of digital allows individuals to anonymously share experiences they otherwise wouldn’t. The MeeToo community is delighted to support this novel and imaginative campaign.” 

Visit to share your story. All submissions must come from young people aged under 25. 

If a young person needs help immediately, they should contact Childline on 0800 1111 or the Samaritans on 116 123. 


¹Stats come from Co-op Foundation’s One Small Step research conducted by Opinium who surveyed a sample of 2,001 10 -25 years old between 16 and 23 August 2021. The One Small Step report used the ONS loneliness measure when asking young people about loneliness. Chronically lonely young people are classed as those who said they felt lonely “often or always” to the question ‘How often do you feel lonely?”. 

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