Wayside Chapel Joins Forces With We Are Social To Combat Loneliness Epidemic With Social60

Wayside Chapel Joins Forces With We Are Social To Combat Loneliness Epidemic With Social60
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine



In response to an alarming 1 in 3 Australians experiencing loneliness, non-profit organisation Wayside Chapel has teamed up with socially-led creative agency We Are Social to launch a behaviour change campaign, Social60.

The pro-bono initiative aims to combat loneliness by establishing a first-of-its-kind benchmark for social connection: 60 minutes of in-person social interaction each day.

@waysidechapel If you’re lonely you’re in good company. 1 in 3 Aussies experience loneliness. #Social60 ♬ original sound – Wayside Chapel

Despite established health guidelines for daily physical activity, nutrition, hydration, and sun exposure, there is a glaring absence of recommendations addressing one of the most critical health threats of our era. Backed by research and Australia’s leading psychologists and neuroscientists, the 60-minute benchmark offers a tangible and memorable goal for individuals to enhance their daily social interactions. 

“As social beings, human connection is essential for our well-being”, says Australian psychologist and social researcher Hugh Clifford Mackay AO, who consulted on the development of the campaign. “Yet here we are in 2024, with social isolation our #1 public health issue”.

Wayside Chapel is on a mission to combat loneliness as it recognizes it as the world’s most treatable pain.

“We’ve been campaigning for a life without loneliness since Wayside Chapel first opened its doors in 1964. Our unique, non-judgemental approach rooted in love, care and connection drives everything we do. Together, we can challenge the loneliness epidemic and foster a society where every individual feels valued and connected,” said Jon Owen, CEO and pastor of Wayside Chapel.

The impetus behind Social60 comes from recent research conducted by Wayside Chapel, which uncovered that nearly 70 per cent of Australians experience less than an hour of in-person contact each day. 

Launching on the UN’s International Day of Happiness, the campaign kicked off with a hero film featuring TikTok creators and everyday Australians delving into the impact of loneliness in their lives.

To further the conversation around how easy it is to evade social interaction, the agency also partnered with creator and media personality Tully Smyth to subvert TikTok’s popular Day-In-The-Life [DITL] trend. In the 24 hours leading up to the launch, Tully intrigued followers by sharing a routine DITL experience, only to reveal in a subsequent post a poignant reality: she spent the entire day without engaging in any physical interaction with another person — shedding light on the profound impact of loneliness on her well-being.

Through creator-led content, Social60 also equips Australians with practical tips and tools to enhance their daily social interactions. The first ‘10 Tips to Combat Loneliness’ TikTok video has been saved by 1.2K people in just 4 days, demonstrating their desire to combat it, despite the stigma preventing people from talking about loneliness with friends and family.

The campaign is endorsed by Dr Fiona Kerr, founder and CEO of The NeuroTech Institute, who emphasises the importance of face-to-face connection over digital interactions. “Thankfully, just chatting in a coffee line gives us an electrochemical infusion that lowers our feelings of both emotional and social loneliness, so we can top up over the day – provided our nose is not buried in our phone. We are built to connect in shared space. Engaging with others positively impacts our brains and bodies in ways digital contact does not, altering our neurophysiology and changing how we see ourselves and each other. It gives us a sense of belonging and acceptance – a wonderful, powerful gift we can give to each other with so little effort,” Kerr said.

“Because the world is dominated by virtual communication, remote working and modern conveniences like online shopping and self-checkouts, connecting with others IRL has never been harder. We really hope Social60 builds a movement towards long-term change. Partnering with influencers and creators on the project helped bring authenticity and authority to the issue, allowing us to use culture to fight our culture of loneliness,” said Ben Clare, executive creative director.

Credits:

WAYSIDE CHAPEL

CEO: Jon Owen

WE ARE SOCIAL AUSTRALIA

Executive Creative Director: Ben Clare

Senior Art Director: Laura Brown

Senior Copywriter: Tom Bradbeer

Head of Design: Pete Majarich

Editor: Annie Davidson

Senior Strategist: Zach Rippon

Senior Account Manager: Ali Spillane

Senior Account Manager: Claudia Hovers

Head of Client Services: Kelly Spence

PR: Manuel Cavaleri




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