Mental Health Awareness

Female service member listening to another service member speaking

You can't turn on the television or open a magazine without being reminded of your physical health and fitness. But mental health is just as important.

An estimated one in five American adults and 13 to 20 percent of children experience a diagnosable mental health disorder each year. Learn more, spread the word and stamp out stigma. Start by learning to recognize signs that you or someone else may need help.

What to look for in adults


out how military crisis hotlines can help.

Adults who are dealing with mental health disorders may display any number of the following signs:

  • Confusion
  • Prolonged sadness or irritability
  • Feelings of extreme highs and lows
  • Excessive fears, worries and anxieties
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Strong feelings of anger
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Denial of obvious problems
  • Numerous unexplained physical ailments
  • Substance abuse

What to look for in adolescents and young adults

Many symptoms in adolescents may be similar to those in adults, but you may notice other characteristics, including:

  • Defiance of authority, truancy, theft or vandalism
  • Intense fear of weight gain
  • Prolonged negative mood, often accompanied by poor appetite or thoughts of death

What to look for in younger children and preadolescents

Young children and preadolescents may display some of the following characteristics:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Poor grades despite strong efforts
  • Excessive worry or anxiety (such as refusing to go to bed or school)
  • Hyperactivity
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

How to get help


your mental health. The process is confidential and anonymous.

There is no shame or weakness in acknowledging that you're having trouble coping. These resources can help:

  • Confidential help is available through Military OneSource, which can provide further resources and connect you with a non-medical counselor. Reach a counselor by phone at 800-342-9647.
  • Confidential video non-medical counseling sessions are also available for free to active-duty, National Guard and reserve members (regardless of activation status) and their families. You must have internet access to use this service.
  • The National Center for Telehealth and Technology helps military service members, veterans and their families cope with psychological health and traumatic brain injury issues through mobile apps and more. Accessing online resources from the comfort of home can eliminate concerns about stigma associated with in-person care. Read more about myths and misconceptions surrounding stigma.
  • Read stories of hope and recovery, find resources in Spanish, get suicide prevention tips and join the conversation at The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website. 
  • Mental disorders can lead to substance abuse. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers information about prevention, treatment, recovery and more.
  • If you or someone you know is suicidal or in a state of crisis, please visit the Military Crisis Line online or call 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).

You wouldn't hesitate to seek help for a physical ailment. So reach out for assistance with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, and encourage others to do the same.


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