Fort Bragg Planning Group Creates Infrastructure to Meet Veterans’ Mental Health Needs

The Fort Bragg Regional Alliance has led a multi-pronged effort involving military and civilian healthcare providers and other agencies to meet the behavioral health needs of veterans living in an 11-county area surrounding Fort Bragg, N.C.

The Alliance has focused on several key human infrastructure issues, including service members’ transition from the Army to the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) and third-party providers in the community. After first identifying gaps in the availability of healthcare and mental health services as part of the regional growth plan it completed in 2007, the Alliance collaborated with a community healthcare provider and three regional workforce development boards to increase the number of locally grown allied healthcare workers. A study the Alliance commissioned in 2010 to craft a recruitment and retention plan for local providers highlighted serious gaps in mental and dental healthcare.

The Alliance also collaborated with initiatives led by other nonprofits to reverse the region’s shortage in behavioral health care providers. One year ago, the Alliance coordinated a behavioral mental health collaboration teleconference with representatives from military, VA, state and local governments, and regional organizations that formalized the joint Army/VA liaison/referral process, transition strategy and case management program. Since then, those same groups gathered for a summit to deal with remaining gaps in coverage.

The Alliance continues to work with military and civilian healthcare providers to pursue other solutions, including setting up veterans’/mental health treatment courts and adding certified veteran peer support specialists in the region.

For its sustained regional effort to build partnerships with Fort Bragg and other local stakeholders to enhance the installation’s mission value and the overall development of the community, ADC is awarding the Fort Bragg Regional Alliance the association’s Defense Community/State of the Year Award. The Alliance’s efforts now are seen as a model for other military communities.

Award winners will be recognized at a special ceremony on Capitol Hill next month during the Defense Communities National Summit.

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