Campaign for Connection
Michelle Briggs, founder of Counselling West Bridgford has developed a unique piece of research as part of her commitment to improving understanding of the prevalence of loneliness amongst the people of Nottingham, and turned to V Formation for help with engaging with Nottinghamshire’s media.
Michelle, a UKCP-accredited psychotherapist and counsellor, commissioned the study with the aim of increasing public knowledge about loneliness and disconnection, and to bust the myths about what it is to be lonely.
The research also aims to garner exclusive insights into the key reasons behind why the people of Nottingham may feel lonely, and to equip Michelle with the relevant information and tools she needs to provide educational resources and events to help local residents unite and foster positive connections with others.
To conduct the research, Michelle used a university-designed questionnaire hosted on the Counselling West Bridgford website, which provides participants with a ‘loneliness score.’ At the end of the survey, respondents are also signposted to helpful information, resources and questions for further reflection, to help them feel less lonely.
To encourage participants from across Nottingham to take part in the survey, the V Formation PR team pitched the aims and launch of the Campaign for Connection research to local and regional broadcast media. We explained the importance of raising awareness and gaining a better understanding of the ‘silent pandemic’ of loneliness in the area, which was highlighted by global research evidence well in advance of COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions coming into force.
Connecting with the broadcast media
BBC Radio Nottingham saw the campaign as the perfect fit for its own week-long feature on loneliness. The radio station invited Michelle to talk on both its Mid-Morning and Breakfast Shows to share her expert knowledge on the feeling and experience of loneliness, the objectives of the study, and the interim results.
Listen to the Breakfast Show interview from 01:42:50: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08rj8jv
The campaign also caught the attention of producers at BBC East Midlands Today. The programme interviewed Michelle on the Evening News to find out why the issue of loneliness and lack of connection is so prevalent at the moment, as well as pre-pandemic. They also asked her whether the perceived feeling of connectivity and community provided by social media actually fulfils our human need for close relationships and interaction.
Following the press coverage and a targeted social media campaign, the connection survey has garnered more than 800 responses (and counting). The respondents span a wide range of age groups and Nottinghamshire boroughs, including Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood, Nottingham City, and Rushcliffe.
Initial findings indicate an average loneliness score of 67 percent across all age groups – consistent with the national picture. The question, ‘How often do you feel that no one really knows you well?’ received the highest loneliness score at 78 percent, signifying that not having a best friend or partner in their lives can often cause people to feel the loneliest.
The anonymous survey is open until the end of October, to over 18-year-olds only. If you’d like to complete the survey, please click here.
Counselling West Bridgford offers confidential, person-centred counselling and coaching via telephone, video and in-person (with COVID-19 safety measures) and specialises in issues such as depression, anxiety, bullying, self-harm, life choices and inter-relational issues.