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Getting Support for Feelings of Loneliness


Many people struggle with feelings of loneliness. Service members and their families in particular may feel isolated and lonely because of frequent moves, deployments and other separations from loved ones.

Loneliness is a serious issue that can affect physical health as well as emotional well-being. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome loneliness and forge meaningful connections wherever you are.

What is loneliness?

When you’re lonely, you feel isolated and disconnected from others. Sometimes you can feel lonely even when you’re around a lot of people because it’s the quality of your connections that counts. You may feel you have little in common with those around you and that you don’t belong.

Loneliness and social isolation can negatively impact health, increasing the risk of:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Weakened immune system

Social connections have a positive effect on physical and emotional well-being. Research shows that people with a strong social network are more likely to:

  • Easily recover from stress, anxiety and depression
  • Eat healthier
  • Be physically active
  • Sleep better

Resources for coping with loneliness

Military OneSource offers resources, tools and information to help you navigate feelings of loneliness.

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Non-medical counseling

Support is always just a phone call or chat away. Military OneSource provides free, confidential non-medical counseling for a wide range of issues, including coping with loss and feelings of social isolation.

Non-medical counseling is also available on your installation through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program. MFLCs are available in person, via phone or video. Use the MFLC Locator to find contact information for your nearest military and family life counselor.

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Health and Wellness Coaching

In addition to helping you reach your fitness goals, health and wellness coaching can also help with stress management and connecting with others.

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Peer-to-peer counseling

It can help to talk with someone with similar experiences. Peer-to-peer counseling through Military OneSource connects you with a master’s level counselor who has first-hand experience as a service member or military spouse. Schedule your consultation by calling 800-342-9647 or starting a live chat. OCONUS/International? View calling options.

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Resilience tools

Tap into Military OneSource’s suite of free resilience tools. These can help you manage your mood, strengthen your relationships, set goals and become more mission ready.

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Military OneSource consultants

Military OneSource can connect you with information about activities, hobbies, groups or other social organizations in your area. This is a good way to meet people with common interests. Call 800-342-9647 or start a live chat to connect with a Military OneSource consultant.

Creating connections to overcome loneliness

Making friends and strengthening ties with those already in your life is well worth the effort. It is the little connections that can make a big impact. If you feel unsure about reaching out, remember that many people feel lonely and would welcome a chance to get to know you.

  • Engage with people from the various areas of your life. Different relationships fill different needs. Build a rich network of social connections by reaching out to members of your unit, your friends, family, neighbors and people you know from other areas of your life.
  • Conduct “buddy checks.” Reach out regularly to the people in your life. Even a 10-minute phone call once a week will strengthen your connections with those you care about.
  • Volunteer. You’ll meet people who share your values and develop a stronger sense of purpose by donating your time to a cause or organization you feel strongly about. Look for volunteer opportunities through your installation’s Military and Family Support Center.
  • Offer to help someone in your neighborhood or community. Get to know your neighbors by offering your time and talents. Help them with yard work, watch their children or cook a meal for someone going through a rough time. Giving to others strengthens connections and helps you feel less lonely.
  • Pursue a hobby, sport or other interest. Recreational activities are great ways to reduce stress and bond with others. Check out your Morale, Welfare and Recreation program for activities, classes and other opportunities.

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