News 19 June

Young people are 63% lonelier in lockdown, according to new Kooth data

Loneliness Awareness Week sees 62.5% surge in loneliness among young people, according to fresh data from Kooth

  • New data from the UK’s largest digital mental health provider shows 62.5% increase in loneliness among children and young people (CYP) compared to same period last year
  • Many adults also struggling, with data showing 14.6% increase among over 18s
  • Data from online services Kooth (for CYP) and Qwell (for adults) sheds new light on impact of lockdown

XenZone, the UK’s largest digital mental health provider, has released new data during Loneliness Awareness Week showing a surge in loneliness as a presenting issue among the thousands of CYP using its online mental health support service, Kooth. 

The service – currently seeing more than 4,000 log-ins from CYP every day – is showing a worrying 62.5% increase in loneliness compared to the same period in 2019. Adults on the organisation’s Qwell service are also presenting with more issues around loneliness, with a 14.6% rise in prevalence compared to last year.

Quotes from CYP on Kooth – anonymised quotes

“I’ve had enough of my family. I feel close to giving up as I now have nothing to live for. I miss friends. I feel so alone and trapped.”

“i don’t have any friends so have had no contact with anyone outside of my house. My mum is at work all day so I’m in the house with just my dad and sister. My dad doesn’t talk to me. Being alone all the time is driving me insane and I don’t know how to stop feeling so down.” 

According to Dr. Lynne Green, chief clinical officer, XenZone, “We all feel lonely from time to time and whilst loneliness in itself isn’t a mental health problem, the two are strongly linked in terms of cause and effect. Social interaction and an optimistic outlook are two key components of combating loneliness, yet the current climate doesn’t necessarily lend itself well to these. 

“Whilst social platforms are providing a huge source of comfort for some, for others, this medium simply exaggerates negative social comparisons and compounds the sense of disconnectedness they feel with the world around. For ⅕ of the population who do not have access to a smartphone or tablet, real life interactions in any format are extremely challenging during the lockdown and even opportunities to engage in individual activities to reduce loneliness are more limited.”

XenZone is reporting and sharing its data reports regularly – for past reports, see our website (‘Covid-19 data’)

Notes on Data:

Data is from 1) Kooth, XenZone’s online mental health support service for children and young people, which is commissioned across more than 85% of all NHS clinical commissioning group areas and 2) Qwell, its service for adults, also commissioned by the NHS. The time period analysed is w/c 3rd March to w/c 26th May 2019 compared to w/c 1st March to w/c 24th May 2020. During this time, 618 CYP and 131 adults presented with loneliness.

The presenting issues are registered against a service user following any interaction that displays this issue. This is typically during counselling, but could also be during any other interaction, such as comments in a forum. The comparison to last year is based on the proportion of the users that have presented with the particular issue, compared to the proportion last year, during the same time period.