SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- For more than 75 years, the social work profession has been recognized as an important and valuable contributor to the health care field.

Today, social workers encompass the largest percentage of professionals working in the fields of mental health and family services.

March is National Social Work Month. A key goal at Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic is to raise awareness of the contributions of the social work profession in both the military and society.

In observation of Social Work Month, DDHC held a kickoff event with the USO and Armed Services YMCA with a proclamation to always empower Soldiers and their Family members to live their happiest and healthiest lives.

"As social workers, it is vital that we take the whole person into consideration and find their innate strengths, so they can enjoy a more fulfilling life," said Maj. Darlene Lazard, deputy installation director of psychological health.

The National Association of Social Workers designated this year's theme as 'Social Workers: Generations Strong.'

Social workers in the Army have been just that, generations strong. Red Cross social workers first provided services to Soldiers during World War I, and continued through World War II.

The Army recognized the vital role social workers played in treating war-related maladies, and created the Army Social Work Program in 1945.

Over the past 75 years, the Army Social Work Program has grown to include more than 300 uniformed licensed clinical social workers, who perform a wide array of duties.

Social workers can be found working as behavioral health officers in brigades, as members of Combat and Operational Stress Control teams, in Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care teams, and assisting service members' families in Child and Family Behavioral Health Services and the Family Advocacy Program.

The services provided by Army social workers are many. Key contributions include:

-Treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD, substance use disorders, concerns with adjustment to the Army, and family difficulties;

-Traumatic event management and disaster relief to address acute stress and grief;

-Teaching healthy relationship skills, parenting techniques, and anger management;

-Identification of behavioral health trends to ensure commanders remain fully mission-ready.

Join the Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic as it celebrates 75 years of military social work and continues its commitment to the community by donating food and school supplies to the Armed Services YMCA Food Pantry at Wheeler Army Airfield.

Donations are being accepted throughout the month of March at any behavioral health clinic on Schofield Barracks. Those donations will go directly to helping service members and their families.

High-demand items include:

-Breakfast bars and cereals

-Canned proteins, fruits, and vegetables

-Rice, flour, spaghetti, and macaroni

-Ready-to-eat meals and soups

For those who may need professional support, behavioral health assets are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Military/Veterans Crisis Line can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Additional resources include Military One Source at (800) 342-9647, your unit's Embedded Behavioral Health Team, or the Tripler Army Medical Center Emergency Room at (808) 433-6661.

For more information about the Army social work profession, please visit GoArmy.com at https://www.goarmy.com/careers-and-jobs/amedd-categories/medical-service-corps-jobs/social-worker.html.

(Capt. Wesley Jones is a social work intern at the Desmond Doss Health Clinic, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He has a B.S. in sociology from Ball State University and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kentucky.)