Pressures of Life in the Armed Forces

A career in the Armed Forces is unique, and many thrive on the challenges and pressures of military life. For others though, navigating strict routines, balancing responsibilities at work and home, and dealing with loneliness can be overwhelming.

Our research shows that - particularly for younger recruits – there is often little opportunity to socialise and feel part of a community. Living far from home, in single-living accommodation, is taking its toll on the mental health of a whole generation of service personnel.     

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suicides in the regular Armed Forces since 2002

The Ministry of Defence reports that the rate of male suicide had been declining since the 1990s. Since 2016 however, suicides among both male and female personnel has risen, and the suicide rate for males in the forces is now the same as the general UK population.

The Impact of Mental Health for the Armed Forces

Decreased mental ill health and reduced suicide incidence and impact are both identified as key outcomes in the Defence People Health & Wellbeing Strategy (2022-2027).

The military relies upon its people to be ‘in a state of positive physical, mental and social health and wellbeing, to enable sustained delivery of defence outputs and optimise whole force operational effectiveness through improved productivity.’ Quite simply; the wellbeing of personnel is central to the effectiveness of the modern Armed Forces.

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military woman with hands covering her face

Support With Mental Health Challenges

When service personnel or veterans are struggling with stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges, a friendly face that understands what they are going through is key. SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, can help with a range of specialised services and an appointed caseworker. 

Sodexo have long been proud supporters of SSAFA, through employee fundraising, volunteering, mentoring service-leavers, and supporting fundraising events; because we know this charity makes a huge difference when it really matters.

Five elemnts of the ssafa team smiling

Developing our Social Impact on base

Our founder Pierre Bellon wanted Sodexo to be a responsible, caring and inclusive business. Our Social Value Strategy outlines the principles that guide us to create a greener, healthier, safer and more prosperous society for all.

two women in Sodexo uniforms smiling at a military man

People Pledge

We create employment opportunities and enable our people to thrive – including our employed reservists, veterans and their families. An early signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, we also hold a Gold Employer Recognition Award, reflecting our commitment to the UK Armed Forces community.

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hands of a person preparing food

Tackling Food Waste

We’re proud to play an industry-leading role in tackling food waste – a major contributor to emissions across the defence estate. Waste Watch, powered by Leanpath, enables our kitchen teams to easily identify efficiencies within menus and operating procedures - all backed up by real-time data.

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