Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health Awareness: Strategies and Resources

By Felecia Sheffield PhD 

Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. There is no single cause of mental illness and there are a number of risk factors. It is estimated that 1 in 5 American adults will experience a mental health issue in any given year. Nearly 1 in 4 active duty service members showed signs of a mental health condition (JAMA Psychiatry, 2014). Among active-duty troops, mental health-related appointments accounted for roughly 16% of all military medical appointments (DoD, 2018). A higher prevalence of emotional and behavioral difficulties was found among children of military families ages 11 to 17 compared to their general population peers. Many people with mental health concerns don’t seek treatment, including military personnel. Below are available strategies and resources.


Do a self-assessment on yourself daily. How are you doing? Are you feeling stressed, annoyed, detached, shut down or self-isolating? Have your eating or sleeping patterns changed?

Don’t forget to check in on your child, family member, or coworkers. Look out for any negative changes in their behavior, appearance or mood. Ex: increased irritability, appears disheveled, self-isolating, increased tardiness or call-outs from work.

At home or in the workplace, create an open environment for help-seeking behavior.

Don’t downplay, ridicule, or gossip about a person’s mental health concerns.

Provide support, reassurance, and encouragement.

Identify available resources through your employee assistance program, community mental health providers or school counselors/psychologists.

Don’t be hesitant to seek out help for yourself or encourage others to do so, if needed.

Asking for help takes courage and is not a sign of weakness. Take the first step!


• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
• The Crisis Text Line: Text TALK to 741741
• NAMI Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264)
• Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
• Dial 211- visit if you need assistance finding food, paying housing bills
accessing free childcare or other essential services.
• National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-787-3224
• National Parental Helpline: 1-855-4A Parent (1-855-427-2736)


• Military One Source: Provides materials and information on programs for military personnel and their families.
Toll-Free: 1-800-342-9647
TTY/TTD: Dial 711 and give the toll-free number 1-800-342-9647
• Veterans Crisis Line (VA): Call 800-273-8255 or text 838255
• DoD/VA Suicide Outreach:
• Parenting2Go app- helps Veterans and Servicemembers reconnect with their children and provides convenient tools to strengthen parenting skills.


• Alcoholics Anonymous web address:
• Narcotics Anonymous Worldwide Services web address:
• Live AA/NA online meetings

Moving Forward App
Life Armor app
Breathe2Relax app

Copyright 2021, Felecia D. Sheffield, PhD., All Rights Reserved in All Media.


Dr. Sheffield is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with extensive clinical, treatment, and program management experience with socioeconomically and ethnically diverse adults and youth. She consults domestically and internationally and has worked with non-profits, schools, hospitals, and clinics. Dr. Sheffield has written over three dozen parenting and self-help articles for the general public.

Her volunteer endeavors include being a part of Science Cheerleaders a national non-profit 501 (c)3 organization comprised of current and former NFL/NBA professional cheerleaders with STEM degrees who engage, encourage, and empower kids and young women to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math careers.

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