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​Bloke Spends Whole Week Alone To Show How Harmful Loneliness Is

Jess Hardiman

| Last updated 

​Bloke Spends Whole Week Alone To Show How Harmful Loneliness Is

Sometimes you can go a day or two locked up inside binging on Netflix, with nothing but a quick chat with the Deliveroo guy for conversation. And that can feel quite nice - but only because it's fleeting, and the next day you'll be at work or at the pub or paying your mum a visit.

Credit: The Loneliness Project

But what if you had to do that every day for a week or so? What if you were one of the half a million older people in the UK who can go a whole week without seeing a single person? To highlight exactly that, one man went seven days without seeing anyone and filmed what happened - no phone, internet access or contact with the outside world.

At first, Joe seems to take it all in his stride and enjoys the peace and quiet of being on his own, but it doesn't take long before the harsh reality of loneliness sets in. Eventually he even finds it hard to sleep as he doesn't feel 'mentally prepared for bed' because his day has lost all its structure.

"It's just been a constant nothingness," he says.

The video was made as part of the Campaign to End Loneliness, which encourages people to do more to help loneliness - and the health threats that come with it - in older age.

Credit: The Loneliness Project

"There are 1.2 million chronically lonely older people in the UK," the website says. "People who don't receive the friendship, support and connections we all need.

"Nobody should be lonely in older age. We believe that loneliness is not inevitable. People of all ages need connections that matter.

"Research shows that the effect of loneliness on health is similar to high blood pressure or obesity. In fact, it's as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness is cutting lives short and the problem is growing."

After the experiment was up, Joe went to meet his 84-year-old neighbour Barry, who's been alone ever since his wife Christine suddenly died back in 2015.

Credit: The Loneliness Project

"Loneliness is like grief; it's suffocating," Barry said. "After my beloved wife Christine suddenly died, I felt only half alive. I felt paralysed by loneliness."

Credit: The Loneliness Project

"By talking more about it, we can break down the stigma that prevents many older people from being open about loneliness," he continued.

"The human need for friendship and support does not go away with age; it actually increases. Whether we are 24 or 84, we all need connections that matter."

Reckon you could last a week on your own? No phones, remember...

Featured Image Credit: The Loneliness Project

Topics: U OK M8, Mental Health

Jess Hardiman
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