January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Stalking Awareness Month

January has always been an important time of the year for Appleseed Community Mental Health Center. It is a time that we look forward to a new year and plan for the year ahead. For Appleseed and its Rape Crisis Domestic Violence Safe Haven program, January is also a chance to bring awareness to two key topics: National Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Stalking Awareness Month.

These important issues were at the forefront of this month’s education and outreach services. January started out with a proclamation reading by the Ashland County Commissioners office declaring January to be Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month as well as Stalking Awareness Month. This proclamation not only demonstrated the dedication Ashland County has to raising awareness for these issues but also its support of community programs like the Safe Haven and its mission to help those fleeing abuse.

On January 23, Safe Haven held “Know it, Name it, Stop it”, an introductory training offering a basic overview of stalking to help participants define stalking, identify stalker behaviors, and recognize the prevalence and dynamics of this commonly misunderstood crime. This training was facilitated by Safe Haven’s Outreach and Prevention Coordinator, Alison Webb, at the Ashland Public Library. On January 30th, Safe Haven also held a discussion night on the documentary, “In Plain Sight,” a film about the stories of human trafficking survivors and trafficking abolitionists. The film was followed by an open discussion that was facilitated by Safe Haven staff. These trainings are critical to Safe Haven’s education and outreach efforts to bring about awareness and change within our community.

January also marked an exciting development for Appleseed. On January 14th, Genoa Healthcare hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Appleseed marking the grand opening of their pharmacy located in Appleseed’s main office. This new partnership offers Appleseed’s clients and staff a convenient opportunity to fill their prescription medications right in the heart of Appleseed’s facility. Genoa is a full-service pharmacy specializing in behavioral health and other complex health conditions. Attending the ribbon cutting was Matt Miller, Mayor of Ashland, and Jacob Coffy from the Ashland County Chamber of Commerce to show their support of the new pharmacy and the opportunities that are made possible through this collaboration.     

With January come and gone, we look forward to the rest of the year and what we can do as an agency to continue to move our mission forward. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and many of our advocates are focused on various outreach programs designed to help link survivors to services and bring about awareness and change in our community. On February 20, Appleseed and the Hearing Voices Network is offering a free training on the growing perspective and approach to supporting individuals who hear voices, see visions or have similar sensory experiences in collaboration with the Hearing Voices Network. Appleseed will be offering two (2) free CEUs for Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists. Space is limited. If you are interested in attending, please register on Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.com/o/29312214185.

Thank you to those that made the beginning of the year so amazing. We look forward to a wonderful year here at the Appleseed Community Mental Health Center.

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