Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Easy steps to understanding & thwarting depression during COVID-19

Image of 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 | | Depression | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Psychological Fitness

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...

Mind-Body Mental Fitness

Article Around MHS
7/27/2022
Mountain view

The lifestyle of active duty service members and their families comes with unique stressors that can often be compounded by living overseas. What most people don’t realize is that stress is a normal part of life. The feelings of stress are just indicators that something in our life needs attention, and even presents a possibility for positive change and growth.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Physical Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Stress | Mental Health is Health Care

Yoga Shield: Building Mental and Physical Resiliency

Article Around MHS
7/27/2022
Military personnel doing yoga

More than 30 Airmen assigned to the Ohio National Guard’s 178th Wing and the Iowa National Guard’s 132nd Wing began a week-long, 60-hour yoga training program July 18 at the 178th Wing in Springfield, Ohio.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Psychological Fitness

AFIMSC Chaplain Shares His "True North" Calling

Article
7/26/2022
An Air Force Airman inspects a target used during a shooting competition at Davis-Monthan Air Base, Arizona, in 2021. The True North program is a resilience program that embeds providers and spiritual leaders within squadrons and groups. Davis-Monthan implemented True North in October 2020. (Photo: Air Force Airman 1st Cl. William Turnbull)

Finding your True North – your authentic self, your purpose, your beliefs – can be a struggle for many today.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Spiritual Fitness | Mental Health is Health Care

Talking to Your Family and Friends About Your Depression

Publication
7/18/2022

Talking with your friends and family about your depression symptoms is not easy. Use this worksheet to help plan the discussion. 1. Decide who to talk to. List the family and friends that you will tell. Bold or underline the person you will tell first.

Recommended Content:

Psychological Health Center of Excellence | Psychological Fitness | Depression

US and Multinational Participants Visit Georgian Rehabilitation Center and Meet Ukrainian Families

Article Around MHS
7/15/2022
Military personnel accepting award

Multinational participants visit the Georgian Rehabilitation Center to not only observe Georgian rehabilitation processes and systems, but also to deepen alliances with Georgian civilian medical counterparts and witness the positive impact on Ukrainian families.

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Building Partner Capacity and Interoperability | Psychological Fitness | Social Fitness

Crisis Support Line

Infographic
7/14/2022
Crisis Support Line

988 24/7 Crisis Support Line

Recommended Content:

Mental Health: Seeking Care with TRICARE | Suicide Prevention | Psychological Fitness | Suicide Prevention

Patient Self-Management for Depression

Publication
7/14/2022

You can do several things to help yourself feel better, even when you’re not at your best. Start by selecting one of the activities from this list. Remember to take it slowly and add new things as you begin to feel better. (Make copies of this worksheet, and review it weekly with your mental health provider or a trusted family member or friend to track your progress.)

Recommended Content:

Psychological Health Center of Excellence | Psychological Fitness | Depression

JBLM Army spouse combats PTSD with physical fitness

Article Around MHS
7/13/2022
Military personnel in physical training session

Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life, but anxiety disorders like PTSD, which affect 40 million adults, are the most common psychiatric illnesses in the U.S.

Recommended Content:

Physical Fitness | Psychological Fitness | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Wagging tails and smiling faces: Therapy dogs bring comfort to Medical Center staff

Article Around MHS
7/6/2022
Military personnel with support dog

Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune staff are receiving comfort and support from four-legged friends. For the past several months, Beasley the Basset Hound, has been making her rounds in her Red Cross volunteer vest, providing treats for humans in the form of pets and cuddles.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Psychological Fitness

Vax Facts: Should I Get a Second COVID-19 Booster Shot?

Infographic
7/1/2022
Vax Facts: Should I Get a Second COVID-19 Booster Shot?

This graphic outlines eligibility requirements for a first booster shot.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Mask Guidance

Infographic
7/1/2022
Mask Guidance

Mask Guidance for Department of Defense Facilities.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Prevent COVID-19

Vax Fax: Should I Get A COVID-19 Booster Shot?

Infographic
7/1/2022
Vax Fax: Should I Get A COVID-19 Booster Shot?

Some people may be eligible for a second booster shot. Share this graphic to communicate who may be eligible.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Anyone Can Get Vaccinated

Infographic
7/1/2022
Anyone Can Get Vaccinated

Now that anyone 6 months and older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, share this graphic to encourage your community to get vaccinated.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Provider Soldiers Learn Mental Health First Aid

Article Around MHS
6/30/2022
Military personnel in classroom

Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Division Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and members of the unit Soldier and Family Readiness Group, participated in the Mental Health First Aid training in Hinesville, Georgia

Recommended Content:

Psychological Fitness | Health Readiness & Combat Support

BJACH Discusses Men’s Health – Part 2: Capt. Scott Saucer

Article Around MHS
6/22/2022
Army Captain Scott Saucer

June is Men’s Health Month.

Recommended Content:

Men's Health | Social Fitness | Psychological Fitness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 45
Refine your search
Last Updated: February 28, 2022

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.