Social isolation and loneliness has been identified as an increasing health concern within the ex-service personnel population in the UK. Social isolation is linked to poor health and well-being and increased risk of mortality. For many veterans, the transition to civilian life from a military environment is a significant life change, with a loss of identity, established social networks no longer accessible, which may impact on mental health and wellbeing. Research has identified gaps in provision of services, health inequalities and care to support veterans as they integrate into civilian life. Additionally, the stigma associated with mental health, which has specific military contexts, may be a barrier to ex-service personnel of all ages in seeking help. This study will help to provide a better understanding of the impact of social isolation on veterans living in Sunderland and explore solutions to support wellbeing to inform commissioning and delivery of services. The project will employ a qualitative research methods approach, using situational analysis to investigate:
- The experiences of ex-service personnel as they transition to civilian life
- The perspectives of family and friends of veterans, to be able to explore the issues of social isolation from those who live with and support veterans in a domestic environment
- The role of social prescribing in the wellbeing of veterans and their families.
- The role of organisations, formal and informal networks in the identification care and support of veterans in Sunderland