Oakland Family Services President & CEO takes part in panel on stigma

 From left to right, OCHN COO & Deputy Director Kathleen Kovach, Oakland Family Services President & CEO Jaimie Clayton and OCHN Chief Network Officer Matthew Owens

From left to right, OCHN COO & Deputy Director Kathleen Kovach, Oakland Family Services President & CEO Jaimie Clayton and OCHN Chief Network Officer Matthew Owens

 Oakland Family Services President & CEO Jaimie Clayton

Oakland Family Services President & CEO Jaimie Clayton

Oakland Family Services President & CEO Jaimie Clayton was one of a panel of speakers that tackled the topic of stigma at Oakland Community Health Network's Your Voice, Your Value Conference Sept. 28.

The panel, led by Vicki Suder, Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN) director of rights and advocacy, included CEOs from core providers and an advocate for those receiving services. Panel members discussed the need to battle stigma surrounding those with intellectual or developmental disabilities, mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, and substance use disorders.

Clayton spoke about those with substance use disorders. She said she is optimistic that people will start to understand addiction as a medical issue, realizing as the medical community has, that it is a brain disease and not a moral failing on the part of the person using substances. 

"No one gets up in the morning and says, 'Today is a great day to shoot heroin and lose my family,'" she said. 

She continued, "I think it's so essential that people know treatment works, recovery happens and people get better. Stigma busting happens when people get better and live to tell their stories." 

Day One, a program of Oakland Family Services, provides substance use disorder counseling to both adolescents and adults, offering group therapy, individual therapy, psychiatric evaluations, family sessions, educational groups and drug screening. Clients are educated on alcohol and substance use disorders, cycle of addiction, relapse, coping skills and strategies. Day One also provides counseling for anxiety, depression and family trauma.

In addition, Oakland Family Services' Specialized Services for Youth program, which is funded by Oakland Community Health Network, provides treatment for children ages 6-17 with severe emotional disturbance. 

The Your Voice, Your Value conference is held annually for both OCHN providers and recipients of services.