Loneliness in the Forces at Christmas

Support SSAFA as we fight against loneliness within the Armed Forces community.

Loneliness in the Forces at Christmas

Support SSAFA as we fight against loneliness within the Armed Forces community.

Feelings of loneliness

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity has revealed that nearly a quarter of polled service personnel are experiencing loneliness in the lead up to Christmas this year – with well over two thirds saying that they felt lonelier than usual at Christmas.

Surprisingly, just 19% of Brits surveyed believe that serving personnel suffer from loneliness more than average in society – with the elderly more commonly recognised as feeling alone.

Please consider supporting SSAFA's work with the Armed Forces by making a small donation this Christmas.  Every penny we raise helps us provide the emotional and practical support so many of our serving soldiers, sailors, airmen and veterans so desperately need.

Christmas exacerbates feelings of loneliness, as pressure to enjoy picture-perfect moments builds. The statistics show that Christmas can be a difficult time for the general population. For GenY and Millennials on Civvy Street, Christmas time proves to be hard - with just under 4 in 10 claiming they feel lonelier than usual. Just under a third (31%) of Brits feel that Christmas brings an onset of more loneliness than usual. More surveyed women (34%) than men (28%) feel loneliness at Christmas.

To shine a spotlight on this issue and encourage the public to show the Forces community that they are not alone, SSAFA has called on the public to show their support.

A host of celebrity support has been shown for the campaign, with names such as Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes, Kym Marsh, Antony Cotton, Major Levison Wood and Lance Corporal Royal Marines JJ Chalmers coming forward to share their own experiences of loneliness in the Forces at Christmas. Joining with SSAFA, they are encouraging everyone to remember those who are feeling alone this Christmas and make a small gesture to change this trend. 

Whilst I was in the British Army, I was also training for the Olympics and heavily involved in athletics. There were moments where I would find myself all alone in my barracks, struggling with my emotions on my own and trying to find an escape.

I realise now that you can get help if you ask for it. So when half of you is dying, and half of you is trying to live - because actually you know you can be good at something still, you have to fight and battle through that. And there is help out there, whether it’s reaching out to your local SSAFA branch or just talking to a family member or friend. There is always someone who will listen to you, you just have to have it within you to ask for it.

- Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes

Helping SSAFA fight loneliness

Much of SSAFA's work with the Armed Forces community helps combat loneliness.  SSAFA operates branches on many of our military bases - both in the UK and across the planet - which provide servicemen and women practical and emotional support.  

SSAFA's mentoring team continue this support for our soldiers, sailors and airmen as they transition to civilian life, helping them cope with the loss of the institution, hierarchies and squad mates who once acted as their 'military family'.  

Our caseworkers, who visit those who seek SSAFA's help, often find that the most valuable service they provide is nothing more than a friendly ear to listen with - helping our military men and women realise that they are not alone, and their problems can always be overcome.

And our Joining Forces program, run in conjunction with Age UK, helps connect our oldest veterans with each other and the support networks that ensure they have someone to talk to, and friendships to make.

But SSAFA could not do any of this without help from you: the Great British public.

We hope, at this happy time of year, you can consider making a small donation to support SSAFA's work, and help us help the brave men and women who have risked their lives in defence of our nation and way of life.