This year has been defined by distance, family members have had to wave to each other through closed windows, and friends have largely had to forgo meeting at restaurants or pubs and make do with virtual spaces. While this situation has been necessitated through wanting to keep our loved ones safe from catching Covid-19, this has not stopped month-after-month feeling steadily lonelier as we move into winter.

Undoubtedly for us and our friends and family Covid-19 has been isolating, has awakened old traumas, increased depression, and anxiety, as well as causing a reliance on unhealthy coping mechanisms. Although, another way to look at this year is that many of us have had time to reflect on how much we need our family and friends and have had time to reappreciate their physical support for us in easier times.

Reclaim and celebrate the value of friendship

In that spirit, Youmanity has launched the friend-ship screenshot competition celebrating the importance of friendship during the pandemic. The message behind this competition is that social distancing does not mean social isolation – and they are encouraging you to submit a screenshot of your phone, tablet, computer used during video calls with family, friends, or anyone who has supported you during the pandemic.

A spokesperson for Youmanity said: “The main objective of the campaign is to get as many people as possible to connect during what can be traditionally a challenging time in relation to suicide statistics … [the main message of this campaign is to] serve as a reminder for people to make that call.”

According to the World Health Organisation, one person takes their own life every 40 seconds, and many more attempt to. A contributing cause of rates of suicide is isolation, and therefore friendship, connections, and togetherness, are more crucial than ever.

While you might not want to submit a photo to this competition, however it is essential that if you are feeling depressed, anxious, or isolated that you contact someone in your support network – either a friend or a family member. But if you ever experience suicidal thoughts you should instantly seek professional help from organisation such as the Samaritans for a trained, non-judgemental conversation.

Judges will mark the screenshot by visual impact, originality, and sensitivity and not on the resolution of the image, as long as the image conveys love, affection, fun, and is a screenshot – let you imagination run wild. The winning screenshot will be awarded £500 and is set to be announced online in February of next year.

Additionally, Youmanity is hoping that once it is safe to do so the winning picture will be able to be showcased alongside last year’s photo in the House of Commons. You can submit your photos for free here, and you have until the 29th January to submit your photo.