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In today’s Friday Field notes, we continue our series of examining how cooperative extension can support Total Force Fitness. This week will explore the programs available through cooperative extension that support psychological fitness.

Service Member Deployment Cycle

What is Psychological Fitness?

The ability to cope with the stressors associated with military life is at the core of psychological fitness. Both military and civilian families face a variety of everyday stressors (e.g., parenting, financial stress), but military families also face unique stressors (e.g., PCS, deployment).

There are many proactive and important coping skills, but social support is an important factor in individuals’ ability to cope with stressors. Watch the Avoiding Burnout: Building Resilience Through Relationships webinar to learn more about building relationships for social support.

Reach out to line leaders, doctors or chaplains for appropriate care right away if military family members:

      • Can’t shake feeling down or worried
      • Have thoughts that repeatedly cause anxiety
      • Have sleep problems
      • Have thoughts about hurting themselves or others

Resources are available and they work. Contact the Psychological Health Resource Center 24/7 by calling 1-866-966-1020 for answers to questions.

Cooperative Extension and Psychological Fitness

Cooperative extension provides programming that supports psychological fitness. Check out your state’s cooperative extension website for blog posts, resources, and events near you. Here are some great examples of resources from Alabama, Louisiana, and Virginia.

Mental health. Your mental health can affect every area of performance, including how you sleep, how you interact with others, and even how you recover from injury. It’s important to understand the different aspects of mental health and how it can affect both military and civilian life.

Tobacco Use. With the recent rise in the number of teens vaping – or using e-cigarettes – cooperative extension offices around the country have been putting together educational material for parents and professionals working with teens. Here is some information on teen vaping from Minnesota and Ohio.

Sleep and Health. Adequate sleep is essential to maintaining one’s overall health, including psychological fitness. As such, cooperative extension provides education on the importance of sleep and advice on how to improve sleep in adults and children. Check out these examples from Missouri and PennState extension.

Learn more about psychological fitness by visiting the Mental Fitness section on You’ll find science based information on mental health, performance psychology and more ways to optimize your performance.