‘I’m lonely’: This guy’s post ignited an incredible nationwide campaign

"I’ll sit on the stairs in front of the town hall from 2pm to 8pm. I have black pants and a North Face bag on," wrote Patrick Cakirli on Jodel, an anonymous messaging app, in December of last year.

Reaching out to anyone within a 10km radius of his location in Denmark, Patrick admitted: "I am desperate to meet new friends. I’m lonely and going through the hardest period of my life."

13 people replied to his message – a response which ultimately acted as the catalyst for a campaign which seeks to raise awareness around the subjects of loneliness and mental health.

"I had no idea at the time, that this very short message would change my life as well as 10,000 others," Patrick recently wrote on Bored Panda.

On the night Patrick reached out to the public, his 13 respondents revealed that they too were experiencing periods of loneliness, and struggled with its implications.

"Many of them confided in me throughout the evening and told me that they too had felt the heartwrenching pain of loneliness, but were too afraid of reaching out because of the stigma," he recalled.

Patrick, who spent much of his childhood in an orphanage, decided to establish a peer-to-peer group in an effort to assist those struggling in isolation, and Smilet Danmark was born.

"A network where you were applauded for showing your weaknesses and vulnerability. A network where we as a community would stand together against the taboo that is loneliness," he explained.

The organisation, which boasts six regional establishments, brings thousands of people together in a nation which reportedly struggles with a loneliness problem among its population.