Loneliness. We are living in the most connected time in human history. And yet, an unprecedented number of us feel isolated. Loneliness is as life-threatening as smoking and obesity (equivalent to 15 cigarettes a day) and a key health hazard. Last year Britain appointed its first Minister for Loneliness referring it to "The sad reality of modern life".It is currently a worldwide epidemic that is here to stay for a very long time.
"Unlike many other illnesses, what is profoundly empowering about addressing loneliness is that the ultimate solution to loneliness lies in each of us. We can be the medicine that each other needs. We can be the solution other people crave. We are all doctors and we are all healers."
Dr. Vivek Murthy, at the 10th Annual Campaign to End Loneliness conference in London.
We need to recognize that human contact is an official medicine, that it can save lives equally as much as say, being a blood or organ donor. This is the basis of the idea. Think about a human social connection donation in the same effect as a blood or an organ donation as a contribution to society, strengthening communities.
Self- regulation: The act of becoming aware of and regulating one’s own emotions.
Co- regulation: The act of regulating another person’s emotions through positive and consistent social connections. This type of connection is the only cure for loneliness.
Concept: CO-RE (Co-Regulation) Donor Card
Calmunity Clinics will be set up on National Loneliness Awareness week for the public to drop in to register for a new type of donor card - CO-RE (co-regulation) donor card. They can make a pledge to make meaningful connections with others on a regular basis. They can name the persons if they wish.
CO-RE Donor cards have the potential to help solve the problem of loneliness as seeing these cards everyday will embed the message in the carriers mind that they have made a pledge to donate their time to their chosen people (or all people).
The end goal is the development of an automatic habit of making meaningful connections, and carriers of a CO-RE card will connect with others without any need for a reminder, and will practice connect with friends, family and strangers as part of their daily lives.
Calmunity cafes - these are pop up cafes set up throughout the year for the public run by volunteers. The difference in these cafes is that everyone that turns up at a Calmunity Cafe receives a 'Volunteer' lanyard. Many people fear disclosing that they are lonely in public, so these 'Volunteer' lanyards make the difference between helper and helped indistinguishable, dissolving any embarrassment.
Com.Unity app - data entry system that measures the amount of meaningful connections made over a period of time to highlight if there is a long absence of connections.