Jo Cox Commission puts spotlight on loneliness among men

The Jo Cox Commission will focus on male loneliness for a month. Generic photo.

The Jo Cox Commission will focus on male loneliness for a month. Generic photo.

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A campaign to tackle loneliness which was devised by the late MP Jo Cox before her tragic death will this month shine a light on men.

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness today begins a month-long project to raise awareness of male loneliness and encourage more activities in communities to tackle the problem.

New research by Royal Voluntary Service - published to coincide with the launch - has revealed loneliness is widespread among men of all ages, with 35 per cent admitting they feel lonely at least once a week.

The Commission is calling on people to ‘Start a Conversation’ about male loneliness and help break the stigma - a key drive in the YEP’s #SpeakYourMind campaign which launched last October.

The research also identified potential causes of loneliness among men, with 18 per cent citing moving away from friends and family as a key cause of loneliness. It was an equal share of men - 17 per cent - who said being unemployed, the death of a family member and a relationship break-up were their main reasons for feeling lonely.

The survey found 25 is the age that men thought they had the largest group of friends and at 38 they had the least. And 35 was the average age for feeling most lonely. The cross-party Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, which launched in January, is supported by 13 organisations and aims to act as a call to action. Under the slogan ‘Start a Conversation’, the commission wants to encourage the public to help themselves and others by educating people on how to reduce social isolation. Mrs Cox was in the process of creating the commission when she was killed outside her constituency last June.

Co-chair of the Commission, sitting Leeds West MP and parliamentary candidate Rachel Reeves, said: “Loneliness is a silent epidemic hidden inside every family and community in the UK and can affect any one of us and at any time. For the next month, we will explore how and why men experience loneliness and most importantly shine a light on the practical steps that can be taken to combat it. Now is the time to break the silence – and Start a Conversation.”

Prudential UK, a partner of Royal Voluntary Service, has also produced a film, available on YouTube, to help raise awareness of the issue.

By Richard Ponter

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