The British public is being invited to take part in a national loneliness survey, launched in partnership between three universities, BBC Radio 4 and the Wellcome Collection.
Called The Loneliness Experiment
, the online survey will explore the nation’s attitudes and personal experiences on loneliness.
The survey has been launched to find out the factors that contribute to loneliness, the role of relationships, connection and social media, and what has aided recovery or improvements to wellbeing.
Developed by academics at The University of Manchester, Brunel University and the University of Exeter – with the aid of a grant from Wellcome – it is hoped the survey will increase understanding of one of the major issues facing society today.
The areas explored by the survey include the effect of new technology and social media on loneliness and the effect of loneliness on people’s health and wellbeing.
“We’ve heard a lot about loneliness in the news recently with the Jo Cox Commission and the appointment of a minister for loneliness," said Claudia Hammond, presenter of Radio 4’s All in the Mind
“It’s clear that loneliness has been brought into focus, but there’s a lot that is still unknown about it. We want as many people as possible to take part in the Loneliness Experiment to help discover not only who is likely to feel lonely, but what it is that can propel people out of it and help them feel more connected to others.”
The results will be analysed and announced in the autumn at an event in the Reading Room at Wellcome Collection, and broadcast on All in the Mind on BBC Radio 4. There will also be a Radio 4 series Anatomy of Loneliness and a set of specially commissioned dramas.
There has been an increased awareness of the effects of loneliness on human health and wellness in recent years.
In January, the government appointed its first Minister of Loneliness.
The move followed the prime minister’s decision to back a series of recommendations made by the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, which highlighted the prevalence of the problem and its impact on both individuals and society.
In January, The Global Wellness Summit listed loneliness among its “Eight Wellness Trends for 2018”, citing that loneliness was now “just as big a killer as smoking”.