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Maintaining Psychological Strength While Deployed


Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chad C. Strohmeyer

Warriors in the field depend on each other to get the job done right. Maintaining both physical and psychological strength is crucial to mission readiness. Support exists to help warriors experiencing combat-related psychological health concerns. For example, feeling stressed, anxious, or having trouble sleeping.

Understand Why It Matters

Up to 30 percent of returning Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom service members reported symptoms of psychological health concerns after deployment. Building your psychological strength can help you work through challenging experiences during deployment. Remember:

Take Action

There are practices you can use to help maintain your psychological strength. Since you may not always have access to a telephone or the main treatment facility, it is important to have tactics to use on your own:

Clear your mind. Do this by practicing meditation. It will teach you to calm your mind and reduce anxiety, and can be done in a few minutes.

Practice deep breathing. Breathing exercises [PDF 75.3KB] can help you relax and can be done anywhere.

Connect online. If you have internet access, use your personal social media networks to communicate with loved ones back home. You can also use the Real Warriors app to connect with fellow warriors and share 24/7 confidential resources for seeking care.

Talk to someone. Reach out, such as to the following:

Get Help When You Need It

You may still experience times while deployed that test your psychological strength, even when using the above tactics. If you feel like you need help, seek care. Deployment is when peak performance is critical.

Depending on your location, there may be health care professionals available. They may encourage you to take advantage of different options, like therapy.

If available, you can also contact your Combat Operational Stress Control (COSC) Team while deployed. These are teams of psychological health professionals for each military service. They provide immediate, onsite support for warriors coping with combat stress. In many cases, a COSC team can help you return to your unit without being referred to higher-level care.

Remember, reaching out is a sign of strength. If you or a loved one needs additional support, you can contact the Psychological Health Resource Center to confidentially speak with a trained health resource consultant 24/7, call 866-966-1020 or use the Real Warriors Live Chat. You can also visit our “Seek Help, Find Care” page to see a list of key psychological health resources.

Additional Resources

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