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Barcelona has resources to help lonely people from all age groups

Barcelona designs a board game that fights loneliness

Barcelona designs a board game that fights loneliness

This is just one of many measures that the municipal authorities have taken to tackle this social ailment

Some 70 000 people from all age groups in that city feel lonely often or very often, according to a recent survey cited by the Municipality of Barcelona. In essence, this represents a quiet epidemic that often goes unacknowledged.

In that context, the Department of Social Rights, Global Justice, Feminisms and LGTBI of Barcelona City Council, has launched the awareness campaign "Against loneliness, let's reconnect", which is part of its strategy against this social ailment for the current decade.

Contrary to common expectations, the study shows that 1 in 3 young people aged 16 to 24 feel lonely, a feeling accentuated by the consequences of the social and health crises caused by Covid-19. Faced with this reality, the campaign urges residents to put numbers on loneliness, to detect it and act on it to alleviate it, to reconnect with themselves, others and the environment.

Specific actions to break the stigma of being lonely

As part of this campaign, a new municipal website barcelona.cat/soledat (available in Catalan and Spanish) lists, by age groups (children, adolescents, adults, the elderly), more than 50 municipal services, including the ‘Here we listen to you' and the 'VinclesBCN'.

It also includes a map of facilities with the corresponding spaces for each age group. There is also a quick test to facilitate the possible detection of loneliness by answering four questions.

Another example of the City’s proactive stance in tackling the social issue is the direct municipal support for the creation of a special board game called “Antidotes”.

Among the benefits of the game is the fact that it facilitates the acquisition of specific knowledge; encourages behaviours; conveys values ​​and encourages critical thinking and reflection: facilitates social learning (such as sharing, cooperating and working as a team); allows you to change roles and identify with others; fosters self-esteem and self-confidence. Best of all, it is designed to be fun and to allow players to freely express their feelings and emotions.

The games will be distributed and freely available in all municipal facilities aimed at children or leisure.

Furthermore, on Friday 1 July, the city will kickstart the awareness campaign with a participatory installation in Plaça Universitat, between 10 am and 8 pm, in which citizens will be encouraged to answer a “Test to recognize loneliness” using coloured strings. Their answers will form a symbolic image of the feeling of loneliness by age groups in the city.

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