Joe went completely silent for a week, cutting himself off completely from the outside world for seven days. That meant no phone, no friends, no contact with anyone.

The outcome? “I can’t sleep,” he says in the video above. “It’s almost like I’m not mentally prepared for bed because there’s not been a beginning, middle and end. It’s just been a constant nothingnes.”

At the end of the week, Joe realised that seven days without any contact with another human being had made him realise what loneliness could be.

That was the whole idea.

Joe’s experience was part of the Campaign to End Loneliness. Elderly people often go for long stretches of time without speaking to anyone. And the purpose of his video was to generate awareness about loneliness, specifically the loneliness of old people.

“Research shows that the effect of loneliness on health is similar to high blood pressure or obesity. In fact, it’s as bad for you as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness is cutting lives short and the problem is growing,” says the Facebook page of the campaign, and encourages people to take action, for “loneliness is not inevitable.”