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News | Dec. 15, 2023

Warrior Mindset video focuses on mental skills development

By Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience

Stress can significantly impact a service member’s ability to focus, especially in a combat environment. This stress can then accumulate, leading individuals to second-guess their decisions and experience a decline in mental health over time.
A recent training video developed in collaboration with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) offers service members an example of what mental skills can be used in the heat of the moment to strengthen their resilience.

In late July, WRAIR  released the training video which highlights six mental skills used by a team of soldiers patrolling through a deserted town. These skills include the use of self-talk, buddy-talk, deliberate breathing, psychological grounding, controlling the controllables, and a personal after-action review.  The video, Warrior Mindset: Gaining a Tactical Advantage, is now available on WRAIR’s YouTube channel and has garnered more than 2,600 views.

“Our goal was to demonstrate mental skills in a way that makes them accessible,” said Maj. Carl Smith, associate director for the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and one of the WRAIR project leads. “The actors were great at showing what using these skills look like.”

In 2022, WRAIR partnered with USU’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS), Suicide Prevention Program to develop the project. After drafting an initial script, the team worked with a professional production company to film the material.

“The result is another WRAIR product that gets mental skills in the hands of service members,” said Dr. Amy Adler, WRAIR’s principal project investigator. “The skills we highlight are designed to help service members take care of themselves and those around them even under conditions of high stress,” Adler said.

Col. Vincent Capaldi, chair of USUHS Department of Psychiatry, stated that service members can adapt these same skills to manage stress on and off the battlefield. Other products have been developed by CSTS’s Suicide Prevention Program. For a full listing, see the CSTS website.