Look Out For Loneliness At Christmas… Here’s How You Can Help

WhatsApp and the Connection Coalition have launched a #FaceOfLoneliness campaign to end the stigma of loneliness this Christmas.

  • New research finds one in four people aged 18-34 feel lonely at Christmas, but a third are too embarrassed to admit it
  • Almost half of Brits expect to go another year without seeing friends and family at Christmas
  • Loose Women’s Judi Love, radio presenter Nick Grimshaw and a number of social media figures are joining WhatsApp and the Jo Cox Foundation’s Connection Coalition to smash the stigma of loneliness and encourage Brits to reconnect this festive season.

Loose Women and Strictly star Judi is sharing the campaign on Instagram.

Sobering and surprising statistics

After a year in which loneliness hit new highs across the UK, almost half of Brits (48%) expect to go another Christmas without being able to see the ones they love. That’s according to a new study of 2000 people from WhatsApp and the Jo Cox Foundation’s Connection Coalition.

The research, conducted as part of WhatsApp’s #FaceOfLoneliness campaign, reveals that the younger generation (18-34s) are most likely to feel lonely.

  • One in four of this age group (26%) say Christmas is when they feel most alone.
  • Despite feeling lonely, a quarter (25%) of all Brits are embarrassed to admit it
  • This rises to a third of those aged 18-34 (32%).
  • A third of Brits (33%) also say it is hard for them to reach out for support when feeling lonely.
  • While most people (62%) would love to get a message from an old friend this Christmas, over a third worry it’s been too long to reach out (36%), that it would seem weird (32%) or that they wouldn’t get a reply (30%).

Anyone can be lonely

WhatsApp and the Connection Coalition want to smash the stigma around loneliness and encourage people across the UK to reconnect with friends and family this Christmas. Championed by a host of celebrities that defy the normal stereotypes of loneliness, the #FaceOfLoneliness campaign shows that loneliness affects people of all ages, from all walks of life.

Vogue Williams, Nick Grimshaw, Ovie Soko, Eden Harvey and Judi Love are among those joining the campaign. The aims are to…

  • dismantle stereotypes about people who are lonely
  • encourage us all to scroll their WhatsApp chat roll to check in with friends and family
  • to find the help and support they need from places like the Loneliness Advice chatbot.

WhatsApp and the Connection Coalition’s Loneliness Advice chatbot is a simple and secure way for people to access reliable and anonymous advice and support in tackling loneliness. This advice is from trusted organisations, such as the Jo Cox Foundation.

Jo’s legacy of caring

“Jo Cox wanted to turbo-charge the public understanding of loneliness in the UK,” says Su Moore, CEO at The Jo Cox Foundation. “In her name, the Foundation continues to champion the issue. We encourage people to talk more openly about their experiences of loneliness and in doing so, reducing the stigma associated with it.

“We know that, for some, feelings of loneliness can be amplified over the festive season. That’s why we’re delighted to be working with WhatsApp to provide access to support, help and advice from our Connection Coalition partners through the chatbot.

Nick Grimshaw

“It can be difficult to identify who’s feeling lonely,” says Nick Grimshaw. “From the person that feels alone at a crowded Christmas party, to the person far away from their friends and family and putting on a brave face, or the person keeping up appearances on social media while sitting lonely behind their phone.

“But there’s no shame in sharing, so we’re encouraging people to pick up their phone and reconnect with a friend this December – you never know who might need it,” says Nick Grimshaw.

“This year has shown us that loneliness is something that can affect anyone. Feeling like you have no access to loved ones, when you’re facing challenges and even when you’re accomplishing great achievements – we just sometimes want to share the moment with someone. There will be many occasions during which we have to stand alone and face ourselves, however, never be afraid or ashamed to say you’re feeling a bit lonely.” says Judi Love, comedian and TV presenter.

“You never know who might be in need of a message”

Model Vogue Williams

“Even during the joyful times when everything looks so perfect on the outside, loneliness can be at its peak on the inside,” says Vogue Williams, model and media personality. “This Christmas, people need to be reminded that they are not alone and that there are others who are feeling the exact same way. There is no shame in sharing this.”

“Being lonely comes with such a stigma. You can be in a crowded room surrounded by people who adore you and still feel so alone,” says Eden Harvey, TikTok star.

“There are so many different types of loneliness, but it’s important to remember that whatever reason you feel lonely is valid.”

“Technology has helped us stay connected, even when we’ve been apart. But with so many feeling lonely, we know this Christmas is going to be tough. And not just for the people you might expect to be struggling,” says Kathryn Harnett, Policy Manager at WhatsApp.

“By showing the many faces of loneliness we’re hoping to encourage the two billion people that use WhatsApp to be part of making this Christmas less lonely for others. So scroll your contact list and reach out to old friends. You never know who might be in need of a message.”

An easy way to get help

Those experiencing loneliness, or worried about others who appear to be struggling can simply WhatsApp “Hi” to 07902 922 908 to use the chatbot.

It’s an easy way to access helpful advice and resources from organisations including the Marmalade Trust, Jo Cox Foundation, Age UK, The Mix, The British Red Cross and #EveryMindMatters.

The Jo Cox Foundation

The Jo Cox Foundation exists to build a positive legacy for the late Jo Cox MP. Its vision is a kinder, more compassionate society, where every individual has a sense of belonging and where we recognise that we have more in common than that which divides us.

The Foundation’s Great Winter Get Together will run from January 17-30, 2022 and will tackle the stigma of loneliness.

In March 2020, the Foundation founded the Connection Coalition. This network of organisations, charities, companies and groups is united in our belief that we can build a better future for everyone by building strong relationships and connected communities.

The Connection Coalition now numbers more than 800 members.To find out more, visit jocoxfoundation.org