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The Lonely Not Alone campaign which aims to tackle the stigma of youth loneliness will launch on Wednesday 7 October for a second year running.

Research from the Co-op Foundation has found that young people say they feel lonely more often than any other age group, but only a quarter (26%) are confident talking about it, and even less (23%) think society takes it seriously.

Loneliness is an issue that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and the Mental Health Foundation recently found that young people were affected by loneliness in lockdown more than any other age group.

Joe, aged 24, from Portsmouth describes his experiences of loneliness: “My experience of loneliness goes back sometime to being bullied at school and not having any friends to see at the weekends, but also now being on my own in my own flat, it gets pretty lonely. I used to and probably still do, isolate myself away from people when I’m feeling down on myself, but I find myself being better when not isolating myself.”

The Lonely Not Alone campaign, funded by the Co-op Foundation, is created by young people, for young people. It encourages people to show they care about youth loneliness by wearing yellow socks.

The Co-op Foundation explain the reason behind this idea: “Socks are semi-hidden – just like young people’s experiences of loneliness – but by wearing yellow socks we can all offer a ‘ray of hope’ that lonely young people will see when they look down.”

This year, as a twist, people are encouraged to share their yellow socks ‘outfit of the day’ on social media with the hashtag #OOTDYellowSocks to help share the message far and wide, and show solidarity.

If you’d like to show your support on 7 October, you can:

  • Wear yellow socks to show you care about youth loneliness
  • Post your ‘yellow socks’ picture to social media using #OOTDYellowSocks and tag @LonelyNotAlone
  • Visit lonelynotalone.org to find out more about the campaign and the young people who created it
In a forest, a boy wearing yellow football socks discovers that all the pine trees have been given “socks” made of ribbon by a red-headed teenage girl also wearing yellow socks in the distance. He smiles and pats the tree. Image created by Matt James, age 24, Devon, and Francesca Devon Heward age 26 Wiltshire.