Back to Top Skip to main content

Easy steps to understanding & thwarting depression during COVID-19

Five people sitting on yoga mats outside in the grass The use of yoga is well known within the military. Here airmen of the 174th Attack Wing participate in a weekly yoga class instructed by Air Force 2nd Lt. Carley Ditro (second from left). Classes are intended to present an alternative way for 174th members to build both mental and physical strength. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Duane Morgan (New York Air National Guard, 174th Attack Wing)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Mental Health Care | Depression

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to how we live daily life. Social distancing, quarantine, and isolation can overwhelm and cause feelings of insecurity, confusion, hopelessness, and, ultimately, depression.

The National Institute for Mental Health within the National Institutes of Health defines depression as a common but serious mood disorder that negatively affects how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities such as sleeping, eating, and working. People dealing with depression typically experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent sad or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease with treatment

We all have days when we feel down, but when the periods of sadness persist and are severe enough to impact daily functioning, it may be time to assess your emotional health by completing a self-assessment. A free, anonymous, and confidential mental health screening can be found at the Department of Veterans Affairs website. Screening results are educational, not diagnostic, but are provided so participants may find out quickly if a consultation with a mental health professional would be helpful.

Learning self-care strategies can help you take charge of your life and improve your mental and physical health. A few guiding principles can help all of us cope effectively during this time is to focus on what we can control.

  • Keep routines as much as possible. Maintaining structure and routine is critical because it reinforces order and predictability, and is something over which we have control.
  • Stay connected. Identify friends and family that you can check in with regularly. Video teleconferencing, phone calls, and other social media platforms can be a great way to connect family and friends.
  • Take breaks from listening to the news. Constant news about COVID-19 from all types of media can heighten fears about the disease. If the news cycle impacts mood and increases stress levels, it may be time to limit exposure.
  • Engage in self-care. Participate in regular physical activity to reduce stress and improve mood. Eat healthy, nutritious foods and drink plenty of water. Avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Get at least seven hours of sleep each night.
  • Protect personal and family health. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, wear a mask in public, and practice social distancing from people outside the household.

What’s the difference between a few bad days or weeks and clinical depression that requires help? A consultation with a mental health professional is recommended when feelings or tendencies have lasted for more than two weeks. Don’t be afraid to reach out.

Getting support plays an essential role in coping with depression. Professional counseling services are available for all Department of Defense beneficiaries and their families.

Military members can contact their local mental health clinic for services. Military OneSource is another option for military and their families. For more information, call (800) 342-9647 or visit the Military Onesource website.

Civilian employees may contact the Employee Assistance Program for free, confidential counseling services at (866) 580-9078 or visit the EAP website.

Comprehensive information on mental health can be found at the National Institute of Mental Health website.

You also may be interested in...

Army SHARP/SAPR’s awareness creates a safe culture at JBLE

Article
9/25/2020
Image of teal ribbon against soldier's uniform

Remaining on guard against sexual harassment/assault despite pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Sexual Assault Prevention

Who’s got YOUR six?

Article
9/25/2020
Military husband hugging his wife

Social support is critical for performance and well-being, but your vast sources of support might not be fully obvious.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Combat Support

USU Task Force addresses nutrition and lifestyle’s role in resiliency

Article
9/24/2020
Woman cutting a steak on a plate, with corn

A personal protective lifestyle (PPL) and nutrition (PPN) could be your key to resiliency in the face of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Nutrition | Coronavirus

PSNS Hospitalman consistently steps up to meet the mission

Article
9/23/2020
Man wearing a mask in an office environment

The ‘Rad Health’ program is cited as the ‘gold standard’ by Naval Sea Systems Command and BUMED audits.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Georgia soldiers donate CCP in the fight against COVID-19

Article
9/22/2020
Man wearing mask, giving blood

[C]onvalescent plasma transferred to a patient still suffering from the disease could help speed the recovery process.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Fort Campbell soldiers shine light on suicide prevention

Article
9/22/2020
Woman wearing a mask, hugging her daughter

Annual walk hosted by BACH offers hope

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Suicide Prevention | September Toolkit

Air Force master ordering facility streamlines medical supply process

Article
9/21/2020
Military member in warehouse, packing a large box

To date, the Air Force master ordering facility in Port San Antonio has supported 26 Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces embedded in 24 civilian hospitals.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Trump Administration Releases COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Strategy

Article
9/17/2020
Soldier getting flu shot

Detailed planning is ongoing to ensure rapid distribution as soon as the FDA authorizes or approves a COVID-19 vaccine and CDC makes recommendations for who should receive initial doses.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS immunization experts will answer questions about flu vaccine

Article
9/16/2020
Soldier giving another soldier a flu shot

Real-time Facebook event set for 3-4 p.m. EDT Sept. 17

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | Preventive Health | Public Health | Coronavirus

Former BAMC COVID-19 patient now CCP donor

Article
9/16/2020
Man donating blood

When someone contracts a virus, that person’s immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

New communications tool rolled out on MHS GENESIS

Article
9/15/2020
Three men, wearing masks, looking at a computer screen.

Through e-Visits, providers address questions, concerns virtually.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Suicide impacts us all – but there is help!

Article
9/14/2020
Man at sporting event kissing his wife and baby

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Coronavirus | September Toolkit

Wildfire smoke wreaks havoc on respiratory and immune systems

Article
9/11/2020
Picture of a military tent; an orange, smoky hue surrounds the tent and soldiers

State and country health advisory alerts on diminished air quality have been posted and shared to alert local populations.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Thirteen years ago Ft. Knox prepared for outbreak scenarios

Article
9/10/2020
Front page of newspaper

Some of the preventive measures that surfaced from the 2007 exercise included the wearing of facial coverings, regular sanitizing of surfaces and social distancing by such means as teleworking.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health

From Ghana to Washington, Sailor provides leadership during COVID-19

Article
9/10/2020
Female soldier with mask

Acquiring supplies, in general, has been a hurdle worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 46 - 60 Page 4 of 25

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.