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Blue Monday: Jo Cox Foundation launches Great Winter Get Together and says it is young people who are most lonely



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Young people are the most lonely in society, says a charity, as it launches a campaign on Blue Monday to encourage people to get together this winter.

The Jo Cox Foundation says that only a small minority of the British public would correctly identify that it is teenagers and people in their early 20s who are most likely to experience strong feelings of loneliness.

The charity, set up in memory of the MP who was murdered in 2016 after attending a constituency surgery, brings together people and organisations with the aim of building a 'fairer, kinder and more tolerant world' the late mother-of-two is said to have passionately believed in.

The charity says that many people wrongly identify older people as being the most lonely when it is the young often struggling
The charity says that many people wrongly identify older people as being the most lonely when it is the young often struggling

Its annual campaign - called the Great Winter Get Together - tries to reduce the stigma associated with loneliness and in particular attempts to reach out to those who don't fit the typical image of a lonely person, which for many is an elderly person who is living alone.

The campaign is launched every year on Blue Monday - nicknamed the 'most depressing' day of the year because of it's time in the month where a combination of short hours of daylight and cold weather, the distance until pay day and the end of all Christmas festivities can combine to make people feel more blue than they may otherwise might.

While the day was originally launched by a travel company it has become synonymous in recent years with mental health support, with Samaritans among those to use the occasion to remind people about checking in on others and instead coining the day 'Brew Monday' as a day to sit and have a cuppa with someone for company.

Jo Cox
Jo Cox

While the majority of people assume that people over the age of 80 are the most lonely age group, the reality says those at the Foundation is likely to be the complete opposite. It says young people aged 16 to 24 are those most likely to struggle, with recent research suggesting 94% in that age bracket reported feeling lonely in the past month compared to 51% of the oldest age bracket.

Su Moore, CEO of the Jo Cox Foundation, explained: “We know winter is the loneliest time of year. This January, we want to help people to take action to remove the stigma that comes with talking about loneliness. What this research shows is that we all need to pause and rethink our ideas of who around us might be lonely and in need of support. Jo Cox herself experienced loneliness when she was at university and as a new mum, just like many others. But it can be harder to talk about feeling lonely during those periods when it feels we should be at our happiest and surrounded by friends.

“Starting today on Blue Monday, for the next two weeks the Great Winter Get Together will be encouraging everyone to play a part in normalising talking about loneliness. While that might sound daunting it’s really just about reaching out to those in our lives - whether that’s to share how you’ve been feeling, or ask how they are and if they’d like to do more together."

The Great Winter Get Together is organised by the Jo Cox Foundation to encourage people to reach out to others
The Great Winter Get Together is organised by the Jo Cox Foundation to encourage people to reach out to others

Anyone can take part in the Great Winter Get Together 2022 - by sharing their own experience, reaching out to someone they know who might be lonely, or organising an event that will bring people together.

To get involved, visit the Great Get Together website for further help and advice.



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