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A 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Soldier pulls guard while participating in a National Training Center rotation 18-02 at Fort Irwin, CA. Soldiers that participate in NTC rotations often get to see scenic sunrises over the Mohave Desert.

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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Jul 25, 2023

Defense Public Health Experts Investigate If Minority Group Service Members are More Likely to Experience Behavioral Health Problems

A recent Department of Defense study found American Indian and Alaska Native U.S. Army Soldiers had higher rates of suicidal ideation than white soldiers. The DOD is investigating behavioral health disparities among minority groups in the military to see how they might mirror similar disparities in the civilian population. (Graphic illustration: Steven Basso, Defense Centers for Public Health-Aberdeen)

U.S. public health agencies such as the National Institute of Mental Health have recognized that certain minority groups appear to experience greater risk for certain behavioral health disorders. The higher rates of adverse health problems in minority groups are often referred to as “disparities.”

Article Around MHS
May 26, 2023

Walter Reed Expert Shares Five Ways to Prioritize Mental Health

Dr. Diaz discusses the importance of mental fitness with U.S. Army Pvt. 2 Kaliyah Rowan at the Mental Fitness Information table during Staff Resiliency Week at Walter Reed. Diaz says prioritizing mental health is key to building resilience, and shared five ways staff members can do just that in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. (Photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jesse Sharpe, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center)

In today's fast-paced health care environment, it's more important than ever to prioritize mental health to build resilience, and in honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month and Staff Resiliency Week at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Dr. Kristine Diaz, a personnel psychologist, shares five ways staff members can prioritize their ...

Article Around MHS
May 22, 2023

New Mental Health Care Initiative Improves Access to Care and Readiness

A room plaque for the 341st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron mental health flight is pictured inside the base clinic June 23, 2021, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. The mental health flight offers mental health services to active duty members and manages the Family Advocacy and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment programs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Heather Heiney)

For more than a year, the Air Force Medical Service has been rolling out Mental Health Targeted Care, an initiative that helps Airmen and Guardians understand all of the available options for support and connects them to the right resource either in a mental health clinic or outside the military hospital with another supporting agency that best meets ...

Article Around MHS
Feb 15, 2023

Army Restoration and Reconditioning Centers Help Soldiers with Deployment Stress and Optimize Unit Readiness

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Yoga and mindfulness for the warfighter? We take a look inside an Army program's "whole person" approach to help soldiers cope with stressful or traumatic events in combat and other military operations.

Article Around MHS
Feb 10, 2023

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Continues Expanding Mental Health Options in Pilot Program’s Second Year

Naval Branch Health Clinic Bahrain sign at Naval Support Activity Bahrain

A two-year pilot program expanding mental health treatment options for military and family members hit its halfway mark. Find out how it's been successful so far, and what's next in advancing services to warfighters and their families experiencing acute mental health problems.

Last Updated: August 04, 2023
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