FORT SILL, Okla. (March 30, 2018) -- They are referred to as EBH Team A, but refer to themselves as 'EBH Team Alpha' because they like to lead the way.
"We believe in the value of what we do, the strength of our Soldiers, and our ability to make a lasting change in the lives of those Soldiers we serve," said Kevin Bell, team leader.With a team of 13, most of whom are social workers, Bell has four focuses: Soldier and leadership satisfaction, readiness, access to care, and decreasing hospitalizations. Despite these many focuses, there is one end goal nested with the commander's intent."Our goal is mission readiness, and to get the Soldiers back in the fight," said Yolanda Nall, a licensed clinical social worker with the team. "We're like 75th in that, we try to prevent suicides because we never want to leave a Soldier behind."With over 30 years of experience in the field of social work, Nall, along with other social workers on the team, provide clinical individual therapy to Soldiers, and treat disorders like post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, as well as their symptoms. Social workers in the clinic also assess for suicide. Most, if not all the social workers, nurses, psychiatrists, and psychologists on the team have over 15 years of experience in social work and the treatment of people with mental health issues.Bell, whose job is to focus and orient behavioral health resources, and to apply those resources to the brigade's needs, said treatment of all personnel begins with an individual needs assessment. From there, the team works to tailor a Soldier's care to his or her specific situation. The Alpha team provides both prevention and educational services such as classes for insomnia, anxiety, and anger management."We have lots of different tools we can teach Soldiers to help them to become stronger and more resilient," Bell said.And it's in this month that the Alpha Team works to expand their knowledge of skills and tools that help Soldiers. To celebrate Social Work Month, the team will attend various training workshops and seminars over the next few weeks. They will complete ethics training as well as learning some "out of the box" and up-and-coming therapies, said Nall.For example, at one of the training seminars, experts will come in to talk to social workers about the adverse childhood experiences study, which has become popular in the treatment of PTSD in recent years. The research breaks down how many people have experienced trauma in their childhood and how that relates to the Army."We're seeing more and more Soldiers coming in with adverse childhood trauma, and this is affecting their performance," Nall said.Training like this can help social workers to better help Soldiers and to aid command teams in leadership approaches and understanding the needs of their Soldiers. To Nall, the more you learn, the more you can offer Soldiers."It's good to have a lot of tools in your tool chest or interventions because not every (treatment) works for every Soldier," said Nall. "Sometimes one type of intervention will work for one person and not another."One workshop will highlight visual thinking strategies, and another will venture into the therapy of somatic re-experiencing, which focuses on treatment of the nervous system. Nall said, they will even be learning to incorporate art in therapy sessions as a method of treatment."The 75th op-tempo is tremendous," said Bell, who hopes to ease the load.Bell also noted that one of the providers commutes long distances each day (over 50 miles, one way) to be a part of the team that serves the largest field artillery brigade in the Army."The Soldiers we serve are expected to be able deliver fires anywhere in the world," Bell said. "That mission mandate drives the need to strengthen the resilience of Soldiers we serve; and we are committed to meeting that need."Bell said, seeing hard-working Soldiers trying to keep their lives together in the crux of the Army mission and life strains makes him want to help them so that they can focus on the mission and take pride in what they do."The profession of arms is not something that rewards second best, so I like the idea of working for a championship team," Bell said.