Developing a holistic intervention to reduce social isolation and loneliness in Veterans treated for PTSD

Paul Watson, Derek Farrell

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Abstract

Veterans who experience persistent difficulties in maintaining feelings of authentic ‘belongingness’ often experience a sense of deprivation. This loss often presents itself in the form of depression, anxiety, anger, trauma, grief, and loneliness. In aspiring towards positive mental and physical health satisfying social relationships are essential. The absence of intimacy, connection, and confirmation of our identity, often leaves individuals emotionally, psychologically, physically, occupationally, and socially abandoned.
Enhancing our understanding of loneliness and social isolation within the veteran community requires a rethinking of the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For the traumatised veteran, many symptoms are not captured by the existing ICD-11/DSM5 criterion for PTSD. Obtaining a more rounded understanding of the links between the veteran’s experience of PTSD, loneliness, and social isolation is imperative towards developing interventions that can be helpful. However, any intervention moving forward must be holistic in its approach with the veteran at its heart. For veterans, experiencing an authentic sense of belonging is more than a psychological state, it requires broader, community empowerment and support.

This report into developing a holistic intervention to reduce social isolation and loneliness in veterans treated for PTSD provides a critical insight into the nature of veteran’s lived experiences, and explores a productive, and contemporary framework in moving forward.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLeeds
PublisherThe Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust
Number of pages74
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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