Veterans are experiencing loneliness and social isolation according to a large study published in the journal Occupational Medicine…

The researchers analysed 17 peer reviewed research papers and found that loneliness is commonly experienced by veterans, with one particular study finding that almost half of its 2025 respondents were reporting it.

Loneliness and social isolation are linked to poor physical health. People experiencing loneliness are at an increased risk of high blood pressure, cognitive decline, depression and even death.

The study found that older veterans, veterans with functional limitations and those who had experienced traumatic events were the most at risk. With almost all ex-service personnel experiencing some difficulty in making the transition back into civilian life following their military service.

Loneliness was also found to be contributing to the development of depression. Veterans who had required inpatient treatment for a mental health condition were five times more likely to be readmitted to hospital if they were at a high risk of social isolation.

Loneliness and social isolation were linked to suicide attempts, with loneliness being the most common trigger for veterans reaching crisis point and turning to a crisis hotline.

Loneliness occurs when a person feels they are isolated and where there is a difference between the social relationships they have compared to the social relationships they want. Social isolation is an impartial judgement that somebody’s social relations and social networks are lacking. (Pathfinder News, 14th Dec 2018)

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