People Are Posting Photos Of Themselves Wearing Yellow Socks All Over Social Media Today | TOTUM
Ben HaywardOctober 12th
2021

A scroll through your social feeds today may find you faced with a fair few posts featuring people wearing yellow socks - and there's a very good reason for it.

Now in its third year, the Lonely Not Alone campaign created by young people to beat the stigma of youth loneliness is launching today (October 14th).

Started by a group of nine young people who had all experienced loneliness, ‘Lonely Not Alone’ encourages everyone to wear yellow socks to show they care about youth loneliness, with supporters then asked to post their yellow sock photos online using the #LonelyNotAlone. 

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Developed in partnership with specialist youth co-design agency, Effervescent and the Co-op Foundation, the aim is to show that every time someone wears yellow socks, it sends a message to young people everywhere that youth loneliness matters.

But why yellow socks? Well, the colour was chosen for the campaign as the colour reminded the founders of hope, while they felt the semi-hidden nature of socks reflected what loneliness felt like for them.

The campaign website says: “Yellow socks are our symbol of solidarity. We realised we often walk around looking down, never catching anyone’s eye or seeing them smile. But if we see you’re wearing yellow socks, we’ll know you care.

“Every time you wear yellow socks you’re standing (and walking!) in solidarity with lonely young people.” 

The Co-op Foundation’s most recent research found that 71% of young people are lonely at least occasionally while 15% - that’s nearly 1.9 million – describe themselves as ‘chronically lonely’ meaning they feel lonely often or always. This is a rise of almost 400,000 from August 2020.

The ‘One Small Step’ report, which was published in September 2021 also found that 82%of young people who are lonely often or always say feeling lonely makes them feel more worried or anxious, but that just 47% of young people would feel comfortable asking for help if they felt lonely.

However, there is also a desire among those involved in the survey to be proactive. 61% of lonely young people say feeling lonely makes them want to help others who feel lonely, 89% have taken an action that has helped to combat their feelings of loneliness and 84% said it helped when they talked about how they were feeling with someone they trusted.

In the introduction to the report, Nick Crofts, Co-op Foundation Chief Executive, says: “Today’s One Small Step report shows that despite our impact, and that of our partners, there is much more we can all do within society to help young people overcome loneliness and improve their wellbeing.

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“It suggests that loneliness has a real impact on young people’s mental wellbeing and that the stigma that surrounds it touches all age groups and demographics, but is particularly severe on those who are the most lonely.

“But it is also clear about the small steps we can all take in society to empower young people to make positive changes. Young people have told us that they need society to be kinder; to be more supportive, and to be more open to discussions about loneliness. 

So, to help address these issues, this year, Lonely Not Alone is creating a safe space for young people to engage in the subject of loneliness in a way that they are comfortable, so if you want to support the campaign, why not take a picture and tag @LonelyNotAlone on social media to show even more young people that they might be lonely, but they’re not alone.

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