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Holiday Resilience: How TRICARE Supports Your Mental Health

For many, the holiday season brings expectations of joy. But for some, the holidays may be a time of stress, sadness, isolation, or other mental health issues.

Life events like the deployment of a spouse, the loss of a loved one, and complex family dynamics can affect how we feel during the holiday season.

We encourage you to focus on your mental health during the holidays and throughout the year. 


1. Practice self-care


Don’t ignore self-care during the busy holiday season. Be intentional about making time for yourself. Try to:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat healthy meals.
  • Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
  • Add more movement or exercise to your daily routine.
  • Engage in hobbies or activities you enjoy.
  • Spend time with people who will offer emotional support.
  • Volunteer at an organization that’s meaningful to you.


2. Be proactive


If your go-to stress relievers aren’t working, you may need to seek extra support. The Brandon Act is one entry point for active duty service members (ADSMs) seeking help.

This law enables service members to request a referral for a mental health evaluation through a supervisor or commanding officer.

Additionally, Department of Defense (DOD) DOD Instruction 6490.08 puts procedures in place to maintain confidentiality for those who seek mental health or substance use disorder treatment, while balancing confidentiality with a commander’s need to know certain information. 

If you aren’t an ADSM, you can make an appointment with a mental health provider without a referral. Need help finding a provider?

Use the Find a Doctor tool. You can also call your TRICARE regional contractor. Learn more about getting mental health care with your TRICARE plan.


3. Know your mental health resources


DOD and the Military Health System offer many resources for you and your family:




*For more from TRICARE/DHA, visit their M:M Expert Author Page.




  • Defense Health Agency

    The Defense Health Agency is a joint, integrated Combat Support Agency that enables the Army, Navy, and Air Force medical services to provide a medically ready force and ready medical force to Combatant Commands in both peacetime and wartime. Their mission is to provide a medical benefit commensurate with the service and sacrifice of more than 9.6 million active duty personnel, military retirees and their families.


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