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Today’s Interview: Eastern Kentucky lacks access to mental health care

Dale Hamilton, Counselor with Christian Appalachian Project
Christian Appalachian Project
Submitted Photo
Dale Hamilton, Counselor with Christian Appalachian Project

People in Eastern Kentucky lack access to mental health care. Dale Hamilton is a counselor with the Christian Appalachian Project, and he says eastern Kentucky has only one quarter the practitioners needed to serve the population. It has been nearly a year since last summer’s deadly and historic floods hit the region.

Hamilton said efforts were made to address the mental health of flood survivors immediately after the storms, but long-term problems are becoming apparent.

“Maybe acute stress disorder, to maybe, for some folks, I’m sure there’s probably, there’s many people out there who meet the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. Having seen loved ones die in flooding, losing their homes, this trauma, we’re now seeing that long term chronic conditions of those mental health issues related to the flooding.”

He said it is important to break the stigma often attached to seeking help.

“Because that is really the key in breaking the cycles of trauma and generational trauma and family trauma, is to seek help, to shine a light in places where healing can occur.”

Hamilton said while there are still services available to help survivors, many are not using them. He is concerned that these problems could lead to generational trauma in the region.

Help can be found by calling the Christian Appalachian Project toll free number at 1-866-707-1797 or by visiting https://www.christianapp.org/family-life-counseling

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Stan Ingold is WEKU's News Director. He has worked in public broadcasting for 18 years, starting at Morehead State Public Radio before spending the past 10 years at Alabama Public Radio. Stan has been honored with numerous journalism awards for his public radio reporting.
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