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Military Health System

Psychological Fitness

Psychological Fitness is the ability to integrate and improve cognitive, emotional, and behavioral practices. Staying mission-ready means having a healthy, high functioning mind, which connects to every domain of Total Force Fitness.

Mental health and mental toughness are not binary-options with an “on/off switch” – they exist on a spectrum, and you can train the mind and learn skills to improve. Psychological health takes practice and training. Just like any other part of your body, the more you exercise it, the stronger and more resilient it gets.

Emotions are part of psychological fitness. We all have them for a reason and suppressing them is not the answer. Find constructive ways to express feelings and cope with difficult emotions that otherwise could affect mission readiness.

Factors that May Affect Your Mental Health Wellness
Anger

Anger is a feeling that can range from mild irritation to intense annoyance to rage. It may be a natural response when possible harm is anticipated or when another person has done something wrong or harmful. 

Anxiety

Individuals living with anxiety live in a world of "what if?" It's often a world of hypervigilance and worst case scenarios. 

Depression

Depression affects your body, actions, thoughts, and mood. Left untreated, depression can last for days, months, or years. Depression is more serious than just feeling sad. Depression affects all areas of life and ranges from mild mood swings to severe negative feelings that disrupt daily life.

Sexual Trauma

Sexual trauma is any sexual activity where someone is involved against his or her will -- may have been pressured into sexual activities, may have been unable to consent to sexual activities (for example, when intoxicated), or may have been physically forced into sexual activities.

Sleep

Good sleep is vital to good health. Sleep helps people cope with stress, solve problems, and recover from illness or injury. Lack of sleep can lead to drowsiness, irritability, lack of concentration, memory and physical problems. 

Spirituality

Different factors can challenge individuals' long held beliefs. In the face of difficulty, many, often for the first time, will give serious consideration to spiritual concerns. Still others find their life experiences strengthen their belief system, whether it has a spiritual component or not.

Stress

Stress comes in two varieties: Good stress and bad stress. Life stress involves all mental burdens that affect an individual.

Work Work environments and requirements vary significantly. Praiseworthy skills in one occupation may be germane or likely counterproductive in another.

Signs of Distress

Some signs of distress could include:

  • Drinking more heavily than normal
  • Agitation or anger
  • Withdrawing from families and friends
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sadness or depression

Many of these tips may seem like common sense, but when faced with challenging life situations these things are often the first things that get neglected.

When psychological health is neglected and mental health concerns arise, it is natural to deny there's anything wrong. Sometimes the last person to recognize symptoms is the one who needs help, so it's important to recognize symptoms in friends, loved ones or oneself and to say something.

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Sesame Workshop Rolls Out Self Care Content for Military Families

Article Around MHS
2/3/2023
A video still shows the Muppet Elmo and his father looking toward the camera.

Sesame Workshop has launched new digital resources for military parents and children that offer simple strategies for mental health and self-care. The resources include videos demonstrating the importance of finding the little wins, being flexible with routines, meal planning and even learning how to be still and quiet.

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inTransition - Connecting, Coaching, Empowering

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1/31/2023
inTransition - Connecting, Coaching, Empowering

The Defense Health Agency inTransition program is a free, confidential program that offers specialized coaching and assistance for active-duty service members, National Guard members, reservists, veterans and retirees who need access to mental health care when: relocating to another assignment; returning from deployment; transitioning from active duty to reserve component or reserve component to active duty; preparing to leave military service; any other time they need a new mental health provider or need a provider for the first time. inTransition coaches are skilled counselors who understand military culture and who maintain privacy and confidentiality. inTransition services are available to ALL military members regardless of length of service or discharge status and there is NO expiration date to enroll. Learn more: https://health.mil/intransition

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Mixed Messages Can Fuel Stigma, Prevent Soldiers from Accessing Behavioral Health Care

Article Around MHS
12/16/2022
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Emphasis on physical readiness and injury rehabilitation is paramount in the military. But what about warfighters' mental health care? See how Soldiers and leaders are reducing obstacles - especially negative stigmas - that prevent others from seeking help.

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Service Dog Helps a Colonel Fight the Battles Back Home

Article Around MHS
12/16/2022
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A soldier's 23-year struggle with mental resiliency, the horror of combat, and personal challenges prompt him (with the help of a lovable labradoodle) to advocate for better awareness and treatment of mental health.

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Older Adults and Mental Health

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12/12/2022
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Mental health often goes undiagnosed in older adults.

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Service Members and Mental Health

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12/12/2022
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TRICARE covers mental health services, including telehealth.

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More Inclusive Research Key to Understanding Prevalence of Dementia

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12/7/2022
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Dementia and its most common form, Alzheimer’s disease, are cognitive disorders that affect more women than men. Although there are various theories on why, more equitable research is needed.

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DOD Begins Hiring Prevention Workforce

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12/2/2022
Suicide in the Military is down, but suicide suicide prevention remains a dedicated DOD focus.

DOD is working to create the healthy climates necessary to address a range of problematic and harmful behaviors, including suicide. This will be accomplished, in part, with a new and dedicated focus.

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Hispanic Heritage Month Highlight: Capt. Cyanela Hernandez Borrero

Article Around MHS
10/17/2022
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Capt. Cyanela "HB" Hernandez Borrero, a Clinical Psychologist assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Medical Squadron, was born and raised on the island of Puerto Rico. From a young age, she was influenced by the medical field and the military.

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Destigmatizing Mental Health Counseling and Treatment in Relation to National Security Clearances

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10/13/2022
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A new specialty adjudicative branch of the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency Consolidated Adjudications Service focusing in behavioral science is expediting security clearance adjudications, as the agency continues its campaign to destigmatize mental health counseling and treatment in relation to the adjudication of national security clearances.

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Dedicated Mental Health Facility Opens for Naval Surface Force in San Diego

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10/12/2022
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The Embedded Mental Health building is the new mental health facility for Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CNSP) operational Sailors, with an overarching goal to give active-duty personnel fast and quality access to mental health care, provide consultation to triads, and training for medical personnel and crews.

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Suicide Prevention Draws Awareness at Madigan

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9/27/2022
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The numbers shock and offend the senses – roughly one active duty service member ends their life each day; add in Reserve and National Guard components and the number rises to an average of 1.5 per day. Madigan Army Medical Center’s Department of Behavioral Health hosted a National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month event on September 22, to raise awareness among the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., community and honor those who have passed.

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988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Expands Opportunities to Help

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9/9/2022
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The nationwide kickoff of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, operated 24/7, provides a new tool that expands the opportunities for professional counseling.

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#BeThere - September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

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9/7/2022
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Suicide rates among military members continue to increase year after year.

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#BeThere_Marine Mark Wahlberg & Will Ferrell

Article Around MHS
9/7/2022
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PSA video with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell bringing attention to suicide prevention and promoting the DSTRESS Line and Community Counseling Centers.

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Last Updated: September 02, 2022
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