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News | May 22, 2023

Unlocking Resilience: Five Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health

By Vernishia Vaughn-Lucas, WRNMMC Command Communications

In today's fast-paced health care environment, it's more important than ever to prioritize mental health to build resilience, and in honor of National Mental Health Awareness Month and Staff Resiliency Week at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Dr. Kristine Diaz, a personnel psychologist, shares five ways staff members can prioritize their mental health to unlock resilience.

These suggestions, although not all-inclusive, "can improve overall wellness and resilience, leading to better focus and performance in personal and professional life," said Diaz.

Here are Diaz's five tips to help you unlock resiliency by prioritizing your mental health:
• Self-Aware: Awareness of your emotions and mental state is critical to building resilience. By acknowledging your feelings, you can take steps to manage them and prevent them from overwhelming you.
• Ask for Help: Asking for help is a crucial step toward prioritizing mental health. By doing so, individuals can recognize their struggles and access the necessary support from others, including guidance, resources, and a compassionate ear. Ultimately, this reduces the adverse effects of stress and other mental health challenges.
• Practice Self-Care: Make sure to schedule time for activities that bring you joy, such as walking, reading, and reaching out to someone you trust. This type of self-care can lead to reduced stress, improved emotional resilience, and an overall sense of well-being.
• Build a Support System: A strong support system can help you navigate challenging times and build resilience. This support system can include friends, family, and mental health professionals.
• Connect with Others: Connecting with others is crucial for maintaining good mental fitness. Social interaction provides a sense of belonging and can improve self-esteem. It also helps to reduce feelings of loneliness, stress, and anxiety. Regular communication with others can boost cognitive function and improve overall mental health.

For Diaz and the entire Staff Resiliency Service team, prioritizing mental health and following these tips are steps in the right direction to unlock your resiliency and overcome challenges with greater ease.

"Mental health is just as important as physical health," said Diaz. "Taking care of yourself is crucial to overall wellness and resilience."

Walter Reed has the only dedicated staff Resiliency Service program in the Military Health System serving all military, civilian, contract, and volunteer staff.
Don't forget to keep your family's information up-to-date in DEERS.