VA Offers Unique Programs to Help Veterans Struggling with Loneliness

PHOENIX (June 30, 2023) — According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), medical professionals have long identified loneliness as a health and wellness risk regardless of age, gender, race, social or financial status. This includes Veterans, especially many older Veterans, who do not receive regular visitors or phone calls.

Veterans can lose a sense of connection after their military separation, or at other transitions in life when close family and friends have moved away, and late in life when those close have passed away.

Veterans experiencing loneliness are more likely to arrive at emergency departments and call crisis lines. A 2022 in-depth VA mental health report on loneliness and isolation found that among Veterans who called the Veterans Crisis Line, 16% reported loneliness. It also found loneliness was the strongest risk factor for attempted suicide.

Fortunately, VA offers Veterans troubled with loneliness several programs to help cope with their sense of isolation. Programs include unique non-clinical therapies and weekly visitations – where available – from trained volunteers, according to VA.

The Compassionate Contact Corps is another non-clinical program in which trained volunteers are matched with Veterans identified by VA as benefitting from increased social engagement. Volunteers call their matched Veterans weekly for meaningful 15-60 minute conversations, according to VA.

It is a signature program of the American Red Cross and Soldier’s Angels, representing one of the many VA programs to help Veterans cope with periods of loneliness.

To learn more about programs to cope with troubling isolation, read this new VA News item highlighting how VA is helping Veterans overcome loneliness.