Over 2 in 5 (41%) of us wrote letters during lockdown to help with our mental health
As nearly half of UK adults say that the excitement of post helped them get through lockdown
Nearly half of Brits (45%) say that receiving post helped them get through lockdown, children’s charity Plan International UK can reveal today. Polling data also showed letter writing was on the up during the pandemic – helping people feel connected and improving their wellbeing, with more than in 2 in 5 (41%) of Brits saying that writing letters during lockdown boosted their mental health.
The findings suggest that it is the written word that we turn to in tough times – and despite the explosion in digital media, it is a physical letter or card that makes the difference. The research found that the forms of written communication that make us feel closest to someone are cards (43%) and letters (36%), compared to Whatsapp messages (27%) and social media messages (22%).
As well as writing letters to help our mental health, one in 10 respondents who regularly write letters say that they find it therapeutic, and one-quarter (24%) say that receiving a letter or card boosts their mental health.
The pandemic has also caused a spike in letter-writing, according to the poll by Plan International UK and Censuswide. A quarter of respondents who regularly send letters say that they sent more letters and cards than usual during the pandemic. And two-thirds (66%) will be sending a card or letter this year where they previously wouldn’t have, to let people know they’re thinking of them even though they can’t see them.
Plan International UK helps facilitate letter-writing and connection across the globe through their child sponsorship programme. By donating just £19.50 a month, sponsors in the UK can exchange regular letters, photos and drawings with their sponsored child. In this way, together they build a unique and meaningful mutual relationship, with each learning about their respective daily lives and experiences.
For sponsored children, letter writing can inspire their imagination and creativity, and encourage them to achieve their ambitions, from becoming doctors and teachers, to midwives and activists. While for sponsors, their monthly donation, rather than going directly to their child, goes to the whole community, and can help children to access education, provide safe water, and help prevent harmful practices like FGM and child marriage.
Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK, says:
‘We are so pleased to hear that letter writing has helped so many people feel connected in the UK throughout the pandemic, and that many of those intend to keep up the habit. It shows the power of letters in troubled times, and what we at Plan International UK already know through talking to our sponsors and sponsored children – that letter writing can boost our wellbeing and help us feel more connected to the world around us.
‘This pandemic has affected every one of us, in one way or another. But children in the poorest parts of the world have been hit particularly hard – with their education put on hold and their young lives disrupted in so many ways. Sharing our hopes and everyday experiences through letter writing can help us build a sense of understanding and community with those in other parts of the world in these unprecedented times.’
To find out more about exchanging letters and sponsoring a child with Plan International UK, visit www.plan-uk.org/sponsor-a-child