Mental Health: Let's Talk About It

Story Number: NNS170505-12Release Date: 5/5/2017 12:21:00 PM
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By Yan Kennon, Naval Hospital Jacksonville Public Affairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Mental wellness is as critical as physical health to mission readiness. A person's mental health can affect their emotions, thoughts and actions. Optimal mental health increases overall resilience to life's challenges.

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses in life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

"Total health includes not only the body, but also the mind," said Cmdr. Rachel Baudek, Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville director for mental health. "Pursuing mental health support is a sign of strength, not weakness."

About 21 percent of active duty were diagnosed with a mental health disorder in fiscal year 2015, according to the DoD Deployment Health Clinical Center. This is relatively consistent with the general population: one in five people in the U.S. has a diagnosable mental health condition, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 17 percent of U.S. adults are in a state of optimal mental health.

Maintain mental health with good sleep, nutritious food, regular exercise, social connections, and healthy coping skills.

Having a good support system and engaging with trustworthy people are key elements to successfully taking care of one's own mental health.

Service members, veterans, and families tend to experience increased stress situations, whether from the rigors of deployment or balancing military and family obligations.

Learn to recognize symptoms of mental health distress in friends and loved ones. Those who need help are often the last to notice. Signs of distress include: drinking more heavily than normal, agitation or anger, withdrawing from family and friends, difficulty concentrating, or sadness or depression.

Mental health treatment works, and recovery is possible.

To learn more or enhance coping skills, call the hospital's mental health clinic at 904-546-6351, Branch Health Clinic Jacksonville's Deployment Health Center at 904-546-7099, Military OneSource at 800-342-9647, or a command chaplain.

Confidential support is available 24/7 from the Military Crisis Line (for service members, veterans, and families) by telephone at 800-273-8255, text to 838255, or online chat at

NH Jacksonville's priority since its founding in 1941 is to heal the nation's heroes and their families. The command is comprised of the Navy's third largest hospital and five branch health clinics across Florida and Georgia. Of its patient population (163,000 active and retired Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and their families), about 85,000 are enrolled with a primary care manager and Medical Home Port team at one of its facilities. To find out more or download the command's mobile app, visit

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Naval Hospital Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 14, 2017) " Lt. Joel Snider, a clinical psychologist at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, assesses a patient. A fit mind and body are vital to individual and unit readiness. Pursuing mental health support is an indication of strength. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel, Naval Hospital Jacksonville/Released).
May 5, 2017
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