What is loneliness?


60 mins


Suitable for 14+


8 -12 Participants


Face2Face & Virtually


To give participants an introduction to the concept of (youth) loneliness and identify and articulate what loneliness means to them. 


By the end of this activity participants will be able to:

  • Define what loneliness means 
  • Compare the difference between loneliness and aloneness 


Here are some guidance to support the participants


We recommend using - ‘Describe you’ 

Part 1: What is loneliness?

What is loneliness

In this activity, participants are asked to access a room that can accommodate movement. Activity sheet 1 and 2 to be given out to each participant and is a useful prompt to consider whether they would like to work on their own or in smaller groups.

Before the activity begins

The facilitator will ask each breakout group to nominate a participant to feedback their groups discussion/thoughts (or the whole group can do it as a collective.) The facilitator will give each breakout group, in turn, an opportunity to inform the whole group what they have thought about and explain that they should aim to provide 3 ideas to the main group (these can be put on to Post-it notes or written directly onto the flipchart paper).

Break out groups

The facilitator to split participants into smaller breakout groups ideally with 2-3 participants in each breakout group (according to group size). Hand out flipchart paper, Post-it notes and pens to each group. Place the images from resource 3 on each table or on the wall in the room, where all groups can see them clearly. Facilitators may want to consider magnifying the images to A3.

Discussion questions

Ask one participant in each group (that is willing to scribe) to write “WHAT IS LONELINESS?” in the middle of the flip chart paper. Allocate approximately 15-minutes for participants to discuss in their breakout group and address the question ‘what is loneliness?’. The discussion can also be captured by creative methods (e.g., drawing/doodles of reasons, identifiers, and location if participants are more comfortable using these).

Support for the discussion

These could be reasons for loneliness, identifiers of loneliness, words, phrases (on facilitator notes) or even drawings of locations or people (available on resource sheet 3).


During the feedback, each group member should take turns in writing or designate someone to write on the flip chart paper (this can also be the facilitator, if required). The facilitator asks the participants whether they agree with the statements/drawings on the flip chart paper and if they would add anything more to it or change anything.

Offer definition

Facilitator then offers a definition of loneliness (p12 of resources)

Part 2: What is aloneness

Ask the group

The facilitator asks the whole group to come together around the flip chart paper in a semi-circle and asks the group: "What does it mean to be alone?". The facilitator reads the Sam Woofle Poem Aloneness vs Loneliness - a poem by Simba8 - All Poetry by Simba8 (Activity Sheet 2 / presentation).

The facilitator will ask the following questions as a discussion:

What are the positives of being along? Support for the faciliator on positives - being alone is not always a bad thing: Solitude - walking in the wilderness or traveling Being creative - our best idea without criticism Thinking time - leaving our brain to recharge Privacy - having time to ourselves Stillness - being calm What are the negative of being alone? Support for the facilitator on negatives: Becoming overly inner critical – self –criticism. Spending too much time on your own can lead to changes in the brain, and potentially impacts the immune system as a potential result of loneliness (The neurobiology of social distance: Why loneliness may be the biggest threat to survival and longevity, June 2020.) Sometimes we need to be with other people. (Cacioppo and Patrick, 2008)

Part 3: Videos on aloneness and loneliness

Part 3 - Videos on aloneness and loneliness


The facilitator hands our activity sheet 2 and informs participants that they will have 12 minutes to do this activity.  The facilitator will show tow YouTube videos to the whole group or, if more appropriate, participants can scan the QR codes on activity sheet

Videos on aloneness and loneliness

The facilitator informs participants that they will have 12 minutes to do this activity. The facilitator to look at two YouTube videos as a whole group

Positive exploration of aloneness

What is Loneliness? - YouTube from headspace app. (Time from start to 1.01 minutes) description of video? And perhaps some points from the video to think about. (Please note: the video contains adverts).

If you are lonely, you are not alone

If you're lonely, you are not alone - from Brightside. (Time: from start to 9.12 minutes) description of video? And perhaps some points from the video to think about. (Please note: the video contains adverts).

Part 4: Re–visiting & finisher

Has this session achieved the intended outcomes?

What can we do to help?

The facilitator refers to the learning outcome(s) for this session. Do participants all agree on the outcomes have been met? The facilitator can ‘test’ that learning outcomes have been met by a ‘pop’ quiz with prizes, etc.

Two questions to ask participants to reflect on:

  • What is loneliness?
  • What is the difference between loneliness and aloneness?


For evidence for a Youth Achievement Award, facilitators should record this feedback and observe participants giving suggestions/answers.


Youth Cymru have created a social action resource pack that may be useful if young people are wanting to engage in social or community action – not required for this session, but is available for you to use.


Facilitator(s) thank participants for their contributions and give a brief introduction to the next session, so participants know what to expect/give them something to look forward to. Facilitator to invite any last questions from the group and remind them that there is a range of information and guidance support available to them (see posters) and urge them to seek any further support from them, their youth workers, teachers, parents, their GP, etc.


The evaluation that we recommend for this activity is the Target Evaluation 


Please feel free to download the activity resources. All documents are editable and can be adapted for your bespoke session.