Started by the Marmalade Trust in 2017, Loneliness Awareness Week (LAW) was established with the aim of helping others understand loneliness, what causes it and how to find ways to connect with others. The Marmalade Trust was founded by Amy Perrin in 2013, who as a Occupational Therapist and volunteer of 20 years experience began hosting tea parties for residents in Bristol. After hearing three of the attendees would be spending Christmas alone, she decided to take them out herself. After word spread, three soon became 18. The following year, this grew to 40! Click here to read more about the history of this event and the Marmalade Trust.
To provide a sense of how the movement has grown, in 2020 annual events took place online. Despite this, the campaign still managed to reach around 271 million people, all without anyone leaving their homes. To discover social media posts and activities surrounding the event, search #LetsTalkLoneliness and #LonelinessAwarenessWeek.
As we cope with changes to our social lives brought about by the pandemic, it's time to remove the stigma around loneliness and encourage people to speak out about their experiences. If left to develop, loneliness can lead to conditions such as depression and anxiety, so addressing this is important to our wellbeing as we become more used to social contact following lockdown. NHS Online offers a set of tips and advice on how to combat loneliness and a mood self-assessment tool to help you understand your own mood.
As part of LAW 2021, the Marmalade Trust wants to encourage a healthier dialogue surrounding loneliness, starting with adapting our approach to starting the conversation in a positive and considerate manner. See this link for more help on how to talk about loneliness. Another key aspect worth addressing is the role of social media, and how responsible usage can help you overcome loneliness by connecting with like minded people. Likewise, it’s useful to be aware of the dangers posed by our increased exposure to social media. For key tips and advice on how social media might be affecting your loneliness, click here.
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