Social Connection Helps Eliminate Isolation, Makes Veteran Lives Better
Surgeon General Issues National Advisory on Loneliness
It can be as simple as a dinner or as complex as multiple days of bonding, but social connection is at the heart of everything Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) does.
The U.S. surgeon general issued an advisory about the nation’s epidemic of loneliness and isolation.
While spotlighting the issue, Dr. Vivek Murthy compared the health dangers of isolation to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. The advisory looks at the challenge of loneliness in the U.S., with about 1 in 2 adults experiencing loneliness. It calls loneliness a major public health concern and more widespread than other major health issues nationwide.
WWP’s Annual Warrior Survey notes how the issue impacts wounded veterans. In the most recent survey, 2 in 3 warriors served by WWP reported feeling lonely.
The surgeon general’s advisory suggests poor social relationships, isolation, and loneliness can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke by about 30%. In older adults, chronic loneliness and isolation can increase the risk of dementia by 50%.
It is not all doom and gloom; there are steps everyone can take. The surgeon general suggests social connections lead to greater economic prosperity, improved health, and increased resilience.
“Wounded Warrior Project wants to get veterans, families, and caregivers out of the house, out of isolation,” said Wil Williamson, VP of connection at WWP. “That’s why we host connection events. Gatherings increase camaraderie and happiness and help veterans realize they are not alone in their challenges.”
WWP tackles isolation by planning fun and engaging events to get warriors, their families, and caregivers out of the house and connected in their community. In 2022, WWP hosted more than 6,400 connection events, like deep-sea fishing, kayaking, leatherworking, archery, horseback riding, hiking, and group dinners. WWP also continued with virtual events it started at the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
WWP empowers veterans to live the logo by carrying their fellow warriors in the following ways:
- Training peer leaders to coordinate and host peer support groups, allowing these service members to continue to serve one another.
- Equipping warrior leaders to host veteran connection events in areas not reached regularly by WWP teammates.
In 2022, WWP hosted 1,200 peer support group meetings and more than 600 warrior-led events. These gatherings increase connection and give veterans a new purpose.
Marine veteran Nick Morrison realized the importance of connection through WWP. Now he serves as a mentor to other veterans.
“I feel a compulsion and a drive to help other veterans at this point – to help them heal…to help them figure out the things that I have started to figure out,” Nick said.
WWP helps veterans like Nick connect and give back.
The surgeon general suggests ways for different groups to address this epidemic, including for communities and charities to establish, promote, and grow community connection programs and for individuals to get engaged.
WWP has an established connection program and promotes upcoming events weekly to registered veterans, family members, and caregivers.
Contact: — Rob Louis, Public Relations, email@example.com, 904.627.0432
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.