You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

‘The first week away from home was exciting but it soon got very lonely’

Press Association logoPress Association 07/06/2018 By Liz Connor

Jack Parsons (Jack Parsons/PA) © Provided by The Press Association Jack Parsons (Jack Parsons/PA) A special message from MSN:

Nine million people across all age groups and walks of life in Britain are affected by loneliness. We've partnered with giving platform Benevity to raise funds for three charities - Mind, the Campaign to End Loneliness, and Wavelength – to tackle this debilitating and complex issue. You can help make a difference - please donate now.

At just 24-years old, chatty and confident Jack Parsons is the founder of a successful company – but he has admitted he “questioned his purpose in life” because of loneliness.

The feelings of isolation he experienced began last year, when he moved out of his family home in Essex to live alone in a south-west London apartment, and his mental health began to suffer.

Jack, CEO of his start-up company The Big Youth Group, described how the “loneliness hit me out of nowhere” after he’d spent weeks without meaningful interaction. The feelings eventually caused him to cancel work meetings, shy away from socialising and avoid leaving his home.

He told MSN: “The first week away from home was really exciting but it soon got very lonely. There’s nobody to talk to when you come home after a busy day. I would cancel about four out of five days of my schedule because I just didn’t want to go out.”

Jack, who was 23 at the time, tried therapy but found speaking about his problems to a stranger only exacerbated the issue. “It just makes you feel lonelier, that you have to pay someone to talk to you,” he told MSN.

His fledgling company, The Big Youth Group, helps people aged 16-30 to launch their own businesses and find more purposeful careers, but Jack admitted that at his lowest point he questioned: “How can I help young people when I feel lonely myself?”

The young influencer, who has been awarded accolades such as ‘Young Digital Leader of the Year’ and ‘Most Connected Young Entrepreneur’, said that he didn’t feel able to tell his family about his mental health issues because he’d always prided himself on being the sensible member of the family, and he didn’t want to worry anyone.

Eventually in January 2018,  he posted a tell-all status to LinkedIn as a way to let those closest to him know that he was struggling. In it, he revealed he had recently faced some mental health issues and had found it lonely, tiring and stressful.

Admitting his biggest mistake was to hide away, he said he’d decided to speak up and help prevent other young people feeling the way he did.

“The post got nine million views online, but it also reached my dad without me having to speak to him directly. That’s really the only reason I did it. It opened up the conversation and it’s actually brought us closer together,” he reflected.

Today, Jack feels he has made progress: “I don’t feel I can say that the loneliness is completely gone and that I’m fine, but it is much better. Surrounding myself with good people has helped.

“Obviously there’s loads of days where I run out of Suits series on Netflix on a Sunday evening, or the coffee shop across the road closes at 4pm and I can’t get my avocado on toast, but it’s made me more outgoing in a way. I think the issue of loneliness in young people is much bigger than we think.”

MSN Loneliness Campaign: Who's affected and how is loneliness being tackled? Discover more and please donate now.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon