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Veteran mental health has declined in the last twelve months, amid concerns about the cost of living, difficulty coping with news coverage of recent conflicts and experiences of isolation and loneliness following the Pandemic. 

A recent survey found that 83% of veterans* with long term health conditions are experiencing feelings of loneliness, and 32% say that they are often or always lonely.  

For some, losing military connections and the sense of camaraderie can be overwhelming. 79% of veterans* said they struggle to make meaningful connections in the community. 

Adjusting back to civilian life can be difficult, those who are the most lonely and isolated are the least likely to ask for help. That’s why we are asking you to reach out to anyone showing signs of withdrawal and isolation, by encouraging them to reconnect and seek help.   


    Look out for changes in behaviour that suggest someone may be struggling. For example: 

    • Not answering phone calls or messages.  
    • No longer attending events. 
    • Unwillingness to engage in conversation. 
    • They seem sad or unmotivated.
    • Not opening their curtains.  
    • Not answering their door.   


    • Make simple connections – for someone who is isolated the simplest things can make a real difference, whether it’s a smile and a wave through a window, a text, or an invitation to a community event. You may be the only outside connection they have that day.     
    • Go walking many of us enjoy the mental and physical benefits from going out for a walk with others. Those benefits are universal, so why not invite them on a walk if you know them well, or a group walk with neighbours if not.    
    • Find common ground –  people who haven’t served in the Armed Forces can find it difficult to fully appreciate how different the civilian world and the military world really are. To break down barriers, you could start a conversation by talking about universal subjects, such as local news, sport, the weather, music, where they’ve been on holiday, food, good books, and television programmes. 
    • Signpost to professional support – if you think someone is really struggling, encourage them to get professional support. Veterans having trouble with any aspect of their mental or physical health, who are lonely, or need support with welfare issues such as money problems, housing or employment, can reach out for advice and support.  

    Help for Heroes takes a holistic approach to isolation, providing mental health support through our Hidden Wounds service and offering activities that bring veterans and family members with similar experiences together.  

    People can take part in a wide range of sports, hobbies or leisure activities or they can just have a brew and a chat. We run them in communities across the UK and online. They are free, and they’re a great way for people to get out and meet others from a similar background. All these get togethers are supported by members of our team. 

    If you’re a veteran who is struggling, we are here for you. Please reach out by visiting our get help page. 

    *We surveyed 810 veterans with long-term health conditions in August and September 2022.