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...

COVID-19 Response

Video
11/27/2020
DHA Seal

Army Pfc. David Alvarado, assigned to the Javits New York Medical Station (JNYMS), talks about their position at JNYMS in support of the Department of Defense COVID-19 response, April 24, 2020. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Army Video by Cpl. Rachel Thicklin.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

COVID-19 Response2

Video
11/27/2020
DHA Seal

Army Spc. Sean Colangelo, assigned to the Javits New York Medical Station (JNYMS), talks about their position at JNYMS in support of the Department of Defense COVID-19 response, April 23, 2020. U.S. Northern Command, through U.S. Army North, is providing military support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help communities in need. (U.S. Army Video by Cpl. Rachel Thicklin)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

How Can Vaccine and Antibody Studies Move So Quickly and Still Be Safe?

Video
11/3/2020
How Can Vaccine and Antibody Studies Move So Quickly and Still Be Safe?

This video provides a detailed overview of the processes that have been implemented to accelerate the pace of the COVID-19 vaccine and antibody studies, and what is being done to assure safety.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The Importance of Enrolling Diverse Participants in COVID-19 Studies

Video
11/3/2020
The Importance of Enrolling Diverse Participants in COVID-19 Studies

This video discusses why enrolling diverse participants in COVID-19 studies is critical for ensuring that, when we find a vaccine, we have enough data from populations who are most affected by COVID-19 to determine vaccine safety and efficacy.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

MHS Minute: Heroes Behind the Mask

Video
10/8/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

In the face of a global threat, healthcare heroes across the MHS have donned their mask, and served on the front line of the battle against COVID-19. Tune in to this month's "MHS Minute" to learn more!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Video
9/4/2020
The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Labor Day pays tribute to the American workforce. This year, we pay tribute to the Military Health System Workforce.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Suicide Prevention Month: A message from CSM Michael Gragg

Video
9/3/2020
Suicide Prevention Month: A message from CSM Michael Gragg

Suicide Prevention Month: A message from CSM Michael Gragg

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Mental Health Care | September Toolkit

MHS Minute: A Call to Action for Convalescent Plasma Donation

Video
8/24/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

Have you recovered from COVID-19, or tested positive for antibodies? Consider donating convalescent plasma. For eligibility requirements, and to find a donor center near you, go to https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/Donors/COVID-19andBloodDonation.aspx

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Suicide Awareness Month PSA 2020

Video
8/21/2020
Suicide Awareness Month PSA 2020

Video from the Co-Founder of Team Rubicon explaining why it is important for them to help veterans explore their options for mental health care.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Suicide Prevention | September Toolkit

Convalescent Plasma Donation PSA featuring Lt. General Place

Video
7/10/2020
Image of Lt. Gen Place

Lt. Gen Place asks servicemembers DoD-wide to consider dontating plasma in the fight against COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

MHS Minute: DoD Focused on COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

Video
6/25/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

Have you recovered from COVID-19, or tested positive for antibodies? Consider donating convalescent plasma. To learn how, go to https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS Minute: Military Leading the Charge on COVID-19 Research

Video
5/28/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

The military continues to serve on the front lines of research and treatment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in to the MHS Minute to learn more.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Transport Vent Tutorial (ParaPAC) (March 25, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

Transport Vent Tutorial - ParaPAC

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Multi-Dimensional Approach To Intubation In The Setting Of COVID-19 (April 1, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

In this video, a doctor and nurse will talk you through preparing to intubate a patient. At the end of the video we highlight some special considerations for intubation in the context of COVID.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Shock Basics for the Non-Intensivist (March 19, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

Shock Basics for the Non-Intensivist...in the age of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 3

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.