Research suggests a simple cuppa and chat with a friend can make a life-saving difference to people living with or at risk of developing mental health problems.


A simple cuppa with a friend can make a life-saving difference to people living with or at risk of developing mental health problems.

Soldier On recently published an article on the psychological science behind activities like their coffee catch ups and family BBQ days which suggested that reducing loneliness and social isolation can reduce the risk of people developing mental health concerns.

According to Soldier On, research shows that loneliness may be both an early warning sign and a contributing factor to mental health difficulties and suicide in military populations. It also suggests that there are many military-specific environmental and cultural factors that impact feelings of loneliness.

One of the best ways to deal with loneliness is obvious - regular contact with family and friends. But it can start when in Service as well, by paying attention to emotional health, team cohesion and good support and relationships with friends and unit members. The 2016 research cited by Soldier On (Cacioppo et al.(2016)) says those at risk of loneliness often have a history of being mistreated, of having unsatisfactory relationships. They feel emotionally strained and not supported in their relationships with others, including within the military.

People sometimes wonder why charities like Soldier On place so much importance on family days and events where people simply hang-out, but the research supports the idea that these simple steps can make a huge difference.

Soldier On is continually working to deliver its programs and support to more members but it needs support from the community. You can help. For only $5.00 a week (around the cost of a coffee!) you can help them provide more of these social activities to veterans and their families. Visit Soldier On to sign up today.

If you, or someone you know is in a crisis situation or is feeling suicidal, and need immediate assistance contact Emergency Services on 000 (112 on a mobile phone) or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14. For more support details visit Soldier On.

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