SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Health, wellness and safety, and more than 20 queries on a variety of housing, education and security issues, filled a fast-paced, 90-minute televised town hall, here, Dec. 1.

This town hall was the first time the live broadcast could be seen off-post, too. The live town hall was streamed via the garrison's Livestream website.

The first half of the town hall featured eight holiday-themed briefings that focused on holiday season safety and health and wellness programs, suggested by town hall co-host Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commanding general, U.S. Army-Hawaii.

"The holiday period is a challenge sometimes, particularly for our single Soldiers," Terry said. "We want everyone to have a great holiday period and take advantage of these programs."

One underlying theme dominated the briefings: the holidays pose a special threat for substance abuse.

"Peace, joy ... wait ... what'" said Pam Jinnohara, Army Substance Abuse Program officer, when describing the program designed to combat holiday stress.

She talked about how heightened expectations for holiday gift giving and happy experiences can push Soldiers and family members beyond what is reasonable.
ASAP's "Peace, joy ... wait ... what'" holiday presentation at the Sgt. Smith Theater, here, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m., will provide help.

Dr. Daniel Ulrich, Child and Adolescent Assistance Center psychiatrist, described how holiday "blahs" could become depression. Lingering depressed moods, guilt, hopelessness, sleep problems and thoughts of suicide, he said, are some of the signs of clinical depression.

The initial step for handling serious symptoms of depression is to "talk to someone," Ulrich said. Communicating with a chain of command figure or a chaplain is a good beginning.

Ulrich offered a range of behavioral health resources.

Viewers of the town hall took advantage of a variety of ways to communicate directly with Army Hawaii leadership, prior to and during the live broadcast: e-mailing "Ask the Commander"; using the garrison's social networks, Facebook and Twitter; or calling in - and, perhaps, to be selected to go live, on air.

One of the first live callers expressed concern about lack of bus transportation to and from Aliamanu Military Reservation.

"My daughter walks 1.3 miles to school and back every day," the caller said. "To do this, she walks up hill, through a questionable neighborhood and across six lanes of traffic on a busy street. She is in the company of approximately 40-50 other military students on this journey."

Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, explained that the issue could be raised through the Army Family Action Plan. We will try to find a solution," Mulbury said.

Another live caller wanted to know if and when Department of Defense schools will be constructed in Hawaii. Tamsin Keone, school liaison officer, replied that a survey is being conducted to gather data about the military's experience with schools in Hawaii.

Terry added that the survey's results will be shared with the community when they become available.

One Facebook user, whose husband is deployed, was concerned that her house had been broken into and her car vandalized. She wrote that she didn't feel safe in her neighborhood.

Lt. Col. Daniel Hulsebosch, director, USAG-HI's Directorate of Emergency Services, explained that gate guards are currently posted in housing areas 19 hours a day through a new program.

Terry added that he also was concerned. "We're looking at increasing our (housing security) capabilities," Terry said. "I won't be satisfied until we have full coverage."

All questions received through the diverse media were logged, reviewed and prioritized. Though airtime allowed only slightly more than 20 responses during the final 45 minutes of the broadcast, all questions will be answered. Some will be featured in the January 2011 "Ask the Commander" column in the Hawaii Army Weekly.

The live town hall is being rebroadcast on garrison's installation access channel 2 after Dec. 15, and will continue through January, daily, at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. To submit an "Ask the Commander" question, send an e-mail to AskTheCommander.usaghi@us.army.mil.

Behavioral Health Resources

-Soldier Assistance Center, (808) 433-8600
-Adult Family Member Assistance Center, (808) 433-8130
-Marriage and Family Treatment Center, (808) 433-8130
-Child and Adolescent Assistance Center, (808) 433-8140
-Tripler Army Medical Center - Psychiatry, Psychology and Social Work services, (808) 433-2778

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16