The Marmalade Trust started Loneliness Awareness Week (LAW) just three years ago. It was really apparent that raising awareness is an important part of changing the way we think and acknowledge loneliness. We need to talk about it.
LAW 2018 was incredible! The Trust supported over 250 events that ran across the UK. Japanese HNK television even came over from Japan to film the awareness week. The reach was over 4 million people.
Britain is in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. A survey by the Jo Cox Commission in 2017 revealed that nine million of us in the UK are affected by it.
So, no wonder that last year the Government even appointed the world’s first loneliness minister, Tracey Crouch. And no wonder that the Marmalade Trust aims to raise awareness of isolation in the UK.
Loneliness hurts you physically as well as mentally. It has even been said that it can be as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It can raise blood pressure, and cause diabetes and obesity.
Technology is a big factor: we send emails rather than talk, we have virtual team workspaces rather than speaking in person. We use LinkedIn and Facebook to keep in touch. One health expert said, “We’re getting out of the habit of actual conversations.”
People who work from home and who also live alone can go days without speaking to anyone. No wonder that the millennial generation, for whom technology accounts for an increasing percentage of their interaction, are reporting high levels of anxiety.
Experts advise that you simply try and make as many social connections as you can, however brief. Make tea for someone at work, or chat to your neighbour.
Marmalade Trust’s vision is to create a society where loneliness is recognised openly as something likely to affect us all.
One of the first steps to achieving this is to reduce the stigma around loneliness – our theme for LAW 2019.
Marmalade Trust has over 300 organisations across the UK partnering to raise awareness, support people to find friendship by hosting events and raise money to help them to do more.
For ideas on how to get involved go to https://marmaladetrust.org/law/.
It could be anything such as;
- invite neighbours around for tea
- arrange a street party
- instigate a group lunch at work
- organise a picnic with new mums
- plan a games night
- arrange a group cycle