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“Changes do happen in people’s lives”

“At the age of 58, I have changed the way I think and want to live … I’ve learned to love me.” William H. is one of 2,200 people enrolled with Riverside Community Partners, a Behavioral Health Community Partner Program.  BH CPs collaborate with Accountable Care Organizations and physicians to ensure better coordinated care. Enrollees get assistance navigating the entire care system, including medical, behavioral health, and social services such as housing and benefits.  Riverside works with five other organizations to ensure locally based services: The Brookline Center, The Edinburg Center, The Dimock Center, North Suffolk Mental Health Association, and Upham’s Corner Health Center.

In William’s own words, read how he has made a remarkable transformation.

“I would like to share my story.  I was born in Boston on October 10, 1960. I had a very loving upbringing. My mother and father instilled strong, loving values in me. I’m one of twelve children, but I am the only one that lived. My siblings died of crib death and other diseases. As a result, I was spoiled by my parents. Unfortunately, I knew they would not discipline me, so I dropped out of school and looked to the streets.

I had my first child at thirteen years-old. I thought I was a man. The people I looked up to were drug dealers, pimps, pick-pockets, and stick up kids — just a world of crime. When my parents died, I found myself caught up in drug addiction. I also found myself with five state convictions, which totaled 36 years in prison.

Once I got out, Chris, my Riverside Care Coordinator, and Nora, his supervisor, came reaching out to help me. They were so supportive.  I didn’t expect anyone to come or contact me. They helped me find a primary care doctor and a mental health doctor. Chris assured me that he wouldn’t just start and abandon me like most have. They were there to guide me in the right direction. It was a blessing. 

At the age of 58, I have changed the way I think and want to live. I have had a year and three months sober, and life is coming together. I have my family back in my life. There are no more jails or prisons.  I am learning construction … how to lay floors, countertops.  I am beginning to live life on life’s terms and live one day at a time.

So I say, if you need help, reach out for that help. Changes do happen in people’s lives. Today I feel good about myself. I’ve learned to love me. Riverside has made such a positive starting point in my life. I am proof that if you let Riverside help, you can make these changes in your life.  I’m hopeful today.”

 – William H.

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