It saddens me to see the growing unrest across the country and in our local communities. I am sure you would agree with me that the incident in Minneapolis was and is totally unacceptable.
We cannot go on this way. However, I know that my sadness cannot compare to the feelings that our staff and clients of color, especially those who identify as African American, are experiencing.
Valley Oaks’ leadership believes mental health is whole health, and we recognize the long-term effects that systemic racism has on the physical and mental health of people of color. As a trauma-informed community mental health center, we are committed to supporting the mental health of our staff, clients, and community members of color while also helping the rest of our staff ally with and support coworkers and clients of color in effective ways.
Valley Oaks has the responsibility of providing mental health services that offer opportunities for personal growth, learning, problem-solving, and the enhancement of functioning for the communities, families, and individuals we serve. We have the responsibility to foster hope and confidence in our collective abilities to talk with one another, listen to one another, and to collectively work on life’s stressors.
There are people who will need our support and compassion as we navigate this next chapter in our history, and as always, we will offer it to them. We hold close our beliefs and passion for social justice as we continue to assist and offer best practices to our clients, fellow staff, and our communities.
-Tom Gilliom, CEO, Valley Oaks Health