1. ITV Report

Southampton charity tackling rise in loneliness in young people

  • ITV News Meridian has been looking at innovative ways to combat loneliness and provide the vulnerable in our communities with extra support

A pioneering project in Southampton is looking at how best to tackle isolation in a generation of young people, many of whom feel they don't fit in when they see the perfect social life on social media.

Katie Ingram is 18 and a keen photographer, a hobby that is helping her to overcome feelings of isolation.

Katie is just one of the young people who has been helped to combat their loneliness by the young people's charity No Limits in Southampton.

  • WATCH: Katie's story

No Limits has just launched a two year project to establish how best to tackle what they say has fast become a "major social problem".

So the irony is that social media is actually making people feel more lonely - the only connection they have is online to someone they may not know or don't know who they are or never really met in person. We just see it more and more; people come into our drop in and everything is around being lonely and not having anyone to trust or confide in."

– Kate Anderson, Youth Worker, No Limits

Those like Hannah Ranger believe the pressures of seeing the perfect life on social media is having a negative effect.

She says she feels teenagers need more help to develop their social skills, particularly if they've been bullied, have lack of confidence or just feel like an outsider.

  • WATCH: Hannah tells her story of overcoming loneliness

As part of the 'Unlock Loneliness Project', thousands of plastic keys with ideas of how to promote messages and helpful hashtags are being handed out, with visits to schools planned for the future.

These young people all encouraging others to reach out before problems risk spiralling into anxiety and depression.

  • Watch Christine Alsford's full report below
  • If you feel you are affected by loneliness, there are a number of charities you can contact:

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