Over the last eighteen months we have all experienced loneliness in ways that we could never have imagined. Research has shown that it’s been especially hard on young people.
This isn’t a new crisis, but it’s one that has become more apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2016, the Co-op Foundation commissioned a research project into youth loneliness – this was a collaboration between MMU and 42nd Street. 200+ young people across the UK were involved and the results sparked a vital conversation.
Fast forward to 2021 and this research has never been more important. Young people have returned to face to face education after prolonged periods away from their friends – the worries and anxieties about missing out, about changes, and about isolation will have been amplified for so many people. People who have been working remotely are navigating the emotions of returning (or not returning) to the workplace.
“I feel like a stranger
living someone else’s story,
I want you to notice,
yet I want you to ignore me. “
Excerpt from the poem ‘Alone/Together’ by Cariad Hughes
In March 2021 we launched ‘Lost & Found’ an interactive experience which aims to open up a conversation around and increase understanding of youth loneliness.
By: Tricia Coleman, John Sear, & Jana Wendler
Based on the 2016 research, this is an interactive story which casts the players as trainee police officers searching for a fictional missing young person. The player examines clues, watches interviews with friends and family, and solves puzzles in order to piece together the story.
Lost & Found is aimed at an audience of young people aged 11-25 and professionals working with young people in settings ranging from health to education to social care. The interactive story offers a space to explore how feelings of loneliness and isolation might manifest for young people today in response to a variety of pressures. It builds on universal themes of transition and the search for connection when becoming an adult, but also raises questions about the impact of wider societal conditions on young people’s lives.
We’d love for you to try it out and let us know what you think.