Influential launches campaign to unmask reality of childhood loneliness

Influential has launched a bold new campaign to encourage children to ‘open up’ about loneliness.   

Launching to mark Loneliness Awareness Week (10-16 June), ‘Open up’, which was commissioned by NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, aims to highlight the rise of loneliness in young people and the signs that can be hard to spot.

Inspired by the classic Russian nesting doll (Matryoshka doll), the powerful creative serves as a reminder that how children appear on the outside may not always reflect what they are feeling on the inside. 

 It encompasses a collection of animated illustrations that effectively convey its message in a simple yet impactful way, encouraging parents and carers to urge children to ‘open up’ about their feelings.  

Karen Swan, Director at Influential, said: “Our insights found that, while parents are extremely worried about loneliness, they often associate it with withdrawal or isolation, when in reality the signs can often be more hidden. 

“Our goal was to emotionally connect with parents, carers and children to encourage them to open up conversations about loneliness early on. With a strong creative approach, we sought to deliver a crucial message in a compelling and relatable way that resonated with our target audience.” 

The multi-channel campaign will run across out-of-home, social media, radio promotion and PR. It aims to empower parents, carers and children with practical tools and support to prevent loneliness. 

Edna Boampong, Director of Communications and Engagement at NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “Sadly, loneliness is an issue that a growing number of children and young people are experiencing. It can have a profound impact on a child’s emotional and physical health, but it can be hard to detect the signs. 

“As a mother of a young child, I am extremely passionate about supporting children’s mental health and I wanted a powerful campaign which would instantly draw people’s attention and get them thinking about how they can prevent loneliness from an early age. Influential not only delivered a brilliant creative, but they vigorously tested it with children and parents across the region to ensure it hit the mark. 

“Getting support early on can prevent things from getting worse in the future and we’re confident this campaign will spark conversations to help children open up about how they are really feeling.”   

More than one in nine young people now experience loneliness according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which can negatively affect their mental health in later life.  

Influential conducted extensive research with parents and children from the outset to fuel the campaign creative. Insights were gathered through an online survey and several focus groups to ensure it was a true representation of how loneliness can manifest itself in young children.  

For further information about Open Up, visit:

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