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Creative solutions for the pandemic of loneliness

Society has grown increasingly individualized throughout the pandemic. Students are learning online, workers are logging in remotely, self-checkout is the norm at stores, events are a rarity, and screen time is surging. All of this is impacting public health and sense of wellbeing. A new study by Harvard found that an “alarming number of Americans — and young Americans ages 18–25 in particular — are lonely and have grown increasingly lonely over the course of the pandemic.” In our State of Mind Report, Cassandra covered loneliness and the pandemic, discussing touch starvation and the importance of inclusive, online communities for young people. Read below to learn about three brands hoping to help young adults feel less isolated.

NO MORE LONELY FRIENDS

After 23-year-old Marissa Meizz posted on TikTok that her friends excluded her from a party, over 5K messages started pouring in from total strangers inviting her to their parties, events (even weddings), and asking to be friends. Meizz recognized this as an opportunity to bring Gen Z and Millennials together, and help them feel less lonely. She decided to host a meet-up event at New York’s Central Park, and with its overwhelming success, Meizz created No More Lonely Friends. The inclusive, youth-centered community now hosts outdoor meet-ups all across the U.S., which are “free and open to anyone,” with some drawing in over 600 people. Meizz doesn’t miss her old friends, given that she described the new community as “a big giant family.” We’d say so, given that #nomorelonelyfriends has 10.3 million views on TikTok!

NOD

The Nod app, created in partnership with Grit Digital Health and Hopelab, helps students on college campuses with loneliness and depression. The company cites data that “67% of college students reported feeling ‘very lonely’ within the past year,” and that of “500 counseling center directors [at schools], nearly 90% reported experiencing an increase in demand for counseling services in the past year.” The inability to feel socially connected, especially hampered by a fully remote or hybrid schedule, can directly impact academic success. The research-based app is interactive and engaging and encourages users to set goals and get creative socially. The app promotes principles such as positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy.

LAUNCH HOUSES

Being a freelancer or entrepreneur can be isolating, especially during the pandemic. Meet the Launch House, a new kind of co-working space designed to improve mental health, provide networking opportunities, increase productivity, and reduce the rates of loneliness. These homes are “a nod to old school hacker homes but built for the remote-work era of the coronavirus.” Having just raised $3 million in funding, what began as a home in Tulum full of 18 entrepreneurs is now turning into a membership-based residency program in LA and NYC. Talk about a built-in social network!