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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) — The Mountain Comprehensive Care Center Healing Program held its annual conference on Friday, bringing together public service and mental health professionals at the Mountain Arts Center.
The event aims to hold workshops to spread education and awareness about sexual assault, mental health, and more.
Johnson County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Adam Gearheart discussed Marsy’s Law and how it has changed the role of victim advocacy. Nicole Y. Ward Ma, LMFT, BHP, explored negative childhood experiences and how to identify the impacts and be part of the healing process. Marissa Castellanos, Anti-Human Trafficking Director at Catholic Charities of Louisville, presented a workshop on human trafficking.
“We have seen an increase in human trafficking over the past two years,” said Heather Greene, director of the healing program. “And today, in the presentation, she just validated what we’ve seen here in the eastern highlands.”
With resources and information available throughout the center, and other topics covered on stage, Greene said the space offers information and discussion to keep important conversations going across the mountains.
“There are all types of different, what we identify as victimizations,” Greene said. “We have often come across different cases where people are going, they are going to end up here and they don’t know how they got here. And then those of us who are trained in this, we are able to help them and bring them back to the people they love.
Although resources differ across the country, she said eastern Kentucky has many things that aren’t available elsewhere in the state.
“You know, it looks different in a metropolitan area compared to here in eastern Kentucky,” Greene said. “They have case management services, they have different resources, but they don’t have residential services or accommodation services. And here in Eastern Kentucky, we have the one and only Sexual Assault Center in the State of Kentucky.
Those involved said the annual conference is the best way to bring together those working to be the voices of victims.
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