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Stress Management During Deployment

In the military, stress happens. But too much stress can have negative effects on performance, safety and well-being. During deployment, it is especially important to know the signs of stress and to be ready with good stress management techniques.

Know the symptoms

Don't ignore the signs of stress. It can affect your performance and safety. These are a few of the symptoms:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Unusual irritability or angry outbursts
  • Unusual anxiety or panic attacks
  • Difficulty completing tasks or making decisions
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Signs of depression (such as apathy or loss of interest in things once enjoyed)
  • Any unusual changes in behavior, personality or thinking

8 tips for effective stress management

  1. Keep up the routine of regular meals, sleep and exercise.
  2. Watch your health. Drink plenty of water. Eat nutritious meals. Exercise and get enough sleep.
  3. Give yourself a break. Rest after stressful events. Learn relaxation techniques.
  4. Talk to others who’ve been there. You’ll see you're not alone.
  5. Work to build trust with your unit, at home and within your community.
  6. Have a laugh. Humor can be a powerful stress reliever and help you see things differently.
  7. Address your spiritual needs. Many find strength and calm in prayer. Discuss your concerns with a chaplain.
  8. Ask for help with problems back home, or ask someone on the home front to take care of stressful issues that may arise while you are deployed.

How to find help for stress

Stress is a physical reaction, not a sign of weakness. If you or someone nearby is having trouble with stress, get professional support as soon as possible to speed recovery. Here are some resources for stress relief. They're confidential, won't affect your security clearance, and are not reported to the command:

  • Contact us at Military OneSource. We offer confidential sessions with licensed professionals at no cost to military members and their families—and we have helped many service members work through issues, including stress management. Find out more about Military OneSource’s confidential, non-medical counseling here. Or call us at 800-342-9647.
  • Military and family life counselors are also available through your installation's Military and Family Support Center.
  • Combat stress control teams. These mental health professionals support service members on site during deployment.
  • Your unit's chaplain. Military chaplains can provide counseling, guidance and referral on many issues during deployment.

For medical help with stress:

You may be eligible for a referral for medical counseling services in your community through a military treatment facility or TRICARE.

  • Therapy services may be available at your nearest military treatment facility or a local network provider.
  • Your primary care manager can refer you to appropriate counseling, or you may contact your regional TRICARE office.

Remember, we all experience stress, but it doesn't have to run your life. Reach out, take steps, take control.

If you are in crisis, or you know someone who is, there are immediate resources available to support you or your loved ones. Contact the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255, then press 1, or access online chat by texting 838255.