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Childline Debuts 'Day In The Lonely' Shorts to Combat Youth Struggles with Loneliness

Jordan P. Kelley, Content Director, Brand Storytelling

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Childline, the counselling service run by UK children's charity NSPCC, has launched its latest campaign called ‘Day in the Lonely' to let children struggling with loneliness know that these feelings do not need to last.

The charity’s concern comes as new data published by Childline reveals that the service is contacted 15 times a day on average by children struggling with lonelinesswhich is often a catalyst for, and interacts with, other mental health problems. Childline data shows that mental health and loneliness continue to be a growing concern after the impact of the pandemic, existing pressures on young people and children, and amidst the cost of living crisis.

Poor mental health is a top concern for children contacting Childline, as illustrated by this direct quote from a 15-year-old boy who contacted the service:

“For the past few months, I’ve been feeling lonely and like I’m nothing. I act happy when I’m around my mum - she seems to think I’m fine but I’m really dying inside. I feel like nobody understands and I don’t know who to tell. I’m worried they'll laugh and won’t believe me or say, ‘you out of all people can’t be feeling that!’”

Childline hears from lonely children who feel that way due to being left out of friendship groups and social media chats, whereas others say their loneliness stems from feeling negatively about themselves or feeling like their friends or family don’t understand them.

Funded by retailer Lidl GB – which has fundraised for Childline since 2020, the aim of the ‘Day In the Lonely’ campaign is to reflect their own experiences back at them, and remind children that support is available.

The ‘Day in the Lonely’ creative was undertaken by the NSPCC in-house Brand and Content team. It consists of a multi-channel approach (Tik Tok, Snapchat, Meta, Spotify, Xbox) with multiple edits of 3 storylines exploring and portraying loneliness in a ‘social native’ aesthetic, aimed directly at a core audience of 12-17yr olds.

Borrowing from the popular social media trend for 'Day in the Life’ videos, it subverts the genre by showing how loneliness can feel overwhelming for a young person through the course of their day - before signalling how they get help and take positive action using Childline resources.

Lorrin Braddick, Creative Director, NSPCC Brand & Content studio says:

“What was really important to us what reflecting the reality of how young people felt and the different ways loneliness could manifest itself. So it’s not just about a person being alone, it’s not only older people or unpopular people who feel lonely... it’s all of us. We wanted to portray the reality of their lives, along with elements being deliberately ‘aspirational’ to help remove some of the stigma of loneliness.

We also wanted to talk to our audience in a way that they’d find immediately identifiable – hence making the campaign very ‘social first’, and carrying that look across all channels (mimicking the ‘tik-tokification’ of a young person’s feed).

Getting the ending and CTA right is always really important – in this case, it needed to be sensitive, empowering (showing the young person with agency), and narratively satisfying without making it feel too neat or ‘problem solved’.”

The films were directed by Leo Birch at Just So, in collaboration with the NSPCC team.

Director Leo Birch from Just So says:

“It’s been a privilege to work with the creative team at the NSPCC on a campaign for such an important and, crucially, timely cause. Given the subject matter, we felt it was important to ensure the films felt authentically ‘social’ so the vast majority of the content was captured on phones by our actors themselves.”

“But for key moments in the film we broke out of that native social aesthetic, using a variety of in-camera and sound design techniques, to really highlight the sense of distress and isolation that comes from experiencing feelings of loneliness. But, in reality, no level of technical treatment can deliver a story without great performances, so an enormous amount of credit must go to our wonderful young actors Aaron, Madison and Nathaniel!”

To reach young people 13-18 years the campaign is running across targeted digital media. The films will run across social media Snapchat, Tiktok & Meta, alongside audio shorts on Spotify, in game advertising on Xbox and digital display across gaming websites and apps.


About the NSPCC

The NSPCC is the leading children’s charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK and Channel Islands. Using voluntary donations, which make up around 90 per cent of our funding, we help children who’ve been abused to rebuild their lives, we protect children at risk, and we find the best ways of preventing child abuse from ever happening. So when a child needs a helping hand, we’ll be there. When parents are finding it tough, we’ll help. When laws need to change, or governments need to do more, we won’t give up until things improve.

Our Childline service provides a safe, confidential place for children with no one else to turn to, whatever their worry, whenever they need help. Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Our free NSPCC helpline provides adults with a place they can get advice and support, share their concerns about a child or get general information about child protection.


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