Pre-deployment events help families prepare physically and mentally
Capt. Carolyn Kehn and 1st Lt. Molly Lynch, assigned to Blanchfield Army Community Hospital’s Social Work Intern Program, share behavioral health and wellness literature, resources and information with a participant at a Pre-Deployment Fair at Army Community Service, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Feb. 10. These events cover a range of administrative topics, but also equip service members and their families to get mentally prepared for the deployment by learning of available supportive resources designed to sustain wellness and readiness. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Pre-deployment events are a staple of military life that aim to connect service members and families with information and contacts to help ensure deployment readiness.

These events cover a range of administrative topics, but they also equip service members and their families to become more mentally prepared for the deployment by learning of available supportive resources designed to sustain wellness and readiness.

“Deployments can often be a great source of stress to many families and when families have unmet needs, military life can become overwhelming,” said Jayme Stalder, a licensed master social worker who is the outreach program coordinator for Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Child and Family Behavioral Health.

Pre-deployment open houses, also called fairs, feature subject matter experts from key organizations of an installation like housing, childcare, healthcare, the ID card office, readiness groups – all in one place and ready to share information, answer questions and provide assistance for service members and their families.

“Knowing what each agency does and how it can support the family’s needs, helps reduce that stress and make life more manageable,” said Stalder.

During a recent pre-deployment fair on Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Stalder and 1st Lt. Molly Lynch, a social work intern at BACH, were among several who represented the hospital’s Department of Behavioral Health.

“Soldiers and their families at the pre-deployment fair came to our table usually not knowing what services we provide,” said Lynch. “We explained to them the services provided by [Blanchfield] as well as contact information for the Soldiers’ Embedded Behavioral Health Clinic.”

Lynch explained that each unit has its own behavioral health team including a behavioral health officer that deploy with the unit.

“They seemed surprised that they would have a behavioral health officer, who is clinical social worker, and two behavioral health techs with them on the deployment,” added Lynch.

Meanwhile for families who remain behind, Stalder and Lynch were able to share informational handouts on a range of wellness topics from sleep to stress management and age-appropriate books written to help younger family members better understand deployments and associated feelings they may experience.

“In addition to answering questions and providing resources, I found my support and assistance was most helpful to those who really were unaware of the available resources that support family life,” said Stalder. “A couple families were new to the area, so I walked and linked them to the agencies where more information was available.”

In addition to getting wills, ID cards and other legal and administrative matters in order to help sustain families during the separation, Stadler said that the peace of mind families can get after participating in a pre-deployment event should not be overlooked.

“Families do well managing life, but when faced with a deployment, particularly when they have young children and worry about uncertainties that may arise, deployment fairs support wellness and foster a sense of belonging to a community. Spouses may not have, or may not have needed, these support systems until their service member deploys,” explained Stalder.

She encourages military families to participate in deployment fairs and other military family support events organized by military units and installations.

For more information visit The website is a Department of Defense-funded program designed to connect service members and their families to information, answers and support.