The All-American Marathon’s 5K kicks off at 7:30 a.m. on March 26. Visitors from near and far will join with locals to walk or run through the streets of Fort Bragg, building camaraderie as they pass Iron Mike toward the coveted finish line. This year, keep your eyes peeled for a special group of superheroes running and walking the streets.
This group will include service members, Family members, and Department of Defense employees bonded through the mission to enhance well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, especially the most vulnerable.
Armed with masters degrees in social work, these psychotherapists give of themselves daily in their mission of supporting Fort Bragg’s most important asset — Soldiers and Family members.
The origins of the social work profession lie in the late 19th century work of Jane Addams, whose passion for the poor lit the flame of American grass- roots social services, which has been credited with bettering society through political action.
Today, social workers can be found in hospitals, schools, mental health clinics and social service agencies.
Social workers are critical members of multi-disciplinary behavioral health teams including psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners.
It is the unique perspective of social workers to look at behavioral health through the lens of the person-in-environment. This holistic approach enables an understanding of how social, spiritual occupational and economic factors influence an individual’s well-being.
Fort Bragg — home to the Army’s largest and most diverse population — uses social workers in both clinical and administrative roles.
Social workers provide individual, couples, Family, or group counseling, including substance use counseling, in Womack’s eight service or Family member behavioral health clinics.
The range of Social Worker is wide — from providing evidence-based post traumatic stress disorder counseling, to helping clients build strong marital relationships, to leading psycho-educational groups.
In the Army, the roots of social work service trace to World War I. Red Cross employees ensured that service members and Families stayed in touch. Some even deployed to support the mission overseas.
This ground-force behavioral health capability laid the foundation for today’s 266 commissioned social work officers, including 25 here at Fort Bragg. They are charged with increasing unit readiness and access to care, as well as perhaps the most important mission of all — reducing the stigma associated with accessing behavioral health care.
This year, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper officially announced March as Social Work Month. For social work professionals, March is a time to celebrate the profession and make the mission of social work known. Fort Bragg’s social workers plan to celebrate the profession by gathering at the All-American 5K in matching grey T-shirts.
While some will sprint like gazelles, others will stroll at a snail’s pace. But, as a group, they remain united in their dedication to the people of Fort Bragg, one counseling session at a time.