SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Sept. 26, 2019) -- Leaders from across Oahu joined the Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic staff on Schofield Barracks for a behavioral health open house, Sept. 26, 2019.

The open house provided an opportunity for the Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic behavioral health staff, agency partners and leaders to see firsthand the resources available to the units.

Tours during the open house were an opportunity for leaders to meet the medical professionals that service members interact with when visiting the clinic.

"For the leaders, family members, and DoD employees that attended the open house, we hope that they walked away with a better understanding of not only who we are, but also understand the various services we are able to provide to our Soldiers and their family members" said, 1st Lt. Gwendolyn Emmsley- Peko, social work intern, Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic.

"Additionally, we wanted attendees to gain a stronger sense of security knowing that there are many civilian and military resources and support that are available to our beneficiaries when needed," added Emmsley-Peko.

The Behavioral Health Open House on Schofield Barracks is an annual event that has grown each year. This year over 30 partners were in attendance, in addition to the embedded behavioral health professionals from the 25th Infantry Division, 8th Theatre Sustainment Command and the Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic.

"For future open houses I hope that this event could possibly be available to not only command teams and key leaders, but to include Soldiers of all ranks," said Emmsley-Peko.

"With this inclusion, it is my hope that it will empower Soldiers to take charge of their behavioral health needs by asking questions about the process and services available to them, as well as to learn to engage and utilize the civilian and military resources that have been created for them and their family members," she added.

Maj. Darlene Lazard, deputy chief, Department of Behavioral Health, led the planning and execution of the event and described the role of clinicians and their impact on unit readiness to those in attendance.

"Commanders come to learn that behavioral health assets are a combat multiplier and significantly contribute to command readiness," stated Lazard.

In her formal remarks, Lazard highlighted the role of the department of behavioral health on the Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic campus and their relationship with agency partners on Schofield Barracks.

When asked why the open house was so important each year, Lazard stated, "to educate command teams, family members, family readiness group leaders and Department of Defense employees on the plethora of behavioral health services offered to our beneficiaries."

"In addition, it is an opportunity to illustrate we stand together in restoring healthy individuals and families, thus improving the quality of life through our behavioral health assets. We also strengthen our partnerships with behavioral health agencies in the community to support command readiness," emphasized Lazard.

"As September and Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month come to a close, we must continue to fulfill our responsibility to increase our communication and take care of each other," added Col. Dave Zimmerman, commander, Desmond. T. Doss Health Clinic.