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Rising and Thriving

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Meridian’s 50th-anniversary celebration continues! 

After the 1996 merger, Meridian began introducing new programs, opening additional facilities, and helping greater numbers of  patients each year.

In this month’s edition, we will discover that milestones do not fully encompass achievement. The true mark of success comes from hearing how Meridian’s programs have impacted people’s lives. 

Rising and Thriving

~ 2005 ~

Meridian Opens a Therapeutic Group Home for up to 12 adolescents.

“I learned how to cope with my peers and the staff. I learned how to control myself and how to ignore negativity and to accept the word no.” – Samuel, age 14 Achievement Center Group Home

The first Opiate Treatment Program was launched in Meridian’s ten-county region, eliminating the need for those suffering from substance use disorders to travel to Jacksonville or Ocala for treatment.  

“I went through detox three times in one year before finding the courage to face my demons head-on. I finished the rehab program and have been sober for 19 years. I’m now the manager of my church’s halfway house for men. [I]… continue to get support through therapy and following the 12-step program.” – Robert

Meridian transitions their accreditation from JCAHO to CARF.

~ 2006 ~

As a community mental health center and safety net provider, 79% of Meridian’s patients were at or below federal poverty levels.

“At Meridian, I’ve learned a great deal about my mental illness and my medications. I can think clearly and rationally now. I am… a much more productive human being. Since I have been at Meridian I have even begun taking classes at community college and have a part-time job.” – Fatima

Meridian earns their first 3-year CARF Accreditation.

~ 2006 – 35th Anniversary ~

“I was here when we moved in. The furniture, the phones, hanging the drapes… Meridian is a good company… I’ve been able to grow here. After 35 years I’m still here because it’s rewarding and I enjoy what I do.” – Sandra

** Meridian’s website www.mbhci.org is launched. ***

The first measure of success is not how many are cared for and turn their lives around, but how many are cared for period,”   ~ Barbara Bush  


Moments in Time Interview:

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your Meridian experience?

I love being able to give hope to clients who walk in feeling hopeless. … I feel most satisfied when I can help clients challenge their thoughts and beliefs to try something new.

How would you compare Meridian today to when you first started?

The biggest change has been increase in services and programs… [and] the Central Intake process for Walk-In [patients] has increased access to care to meet client needs when they are ready for treatment.

Who has had the greatest influence on you and why?

Kristin Gibbon, LMHC supervised me for licensure. Kristin gave me awesome support and guidance and help me prepare for my exam. She worked with me in the area I struggled with, which improved my confidence before taking the exam.

What do you consider to be the key aspect of your position?

Several previous clients [who] return to Meridian for services for their child, or another family member [will ask], “Does Ms. Valeria still work here?” Building positive relationships with clients, families, and community helps build trust for clients to seek Meridian’s services during their challenging times in life.

Final Thoughts?

Meridian has been rewarding to me as a therapist because it gives me the opportunity to help others. My longevity is based on… my faith, my love for my job, and making self-care essential. My motto is,

“I can’t care for others if I don’t take care of myself first.”

Thank you, Valeria, for your passion and commitment to assisting people through some of their most difficult times. We are grateful for your contribution to making Meridian what it is today and look forward to spending many more years with you.­­­


We hope you enjoyed this edition of Meridian’s 50th Anniversary series. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please email Cat Adams at the following address: catherine_adams@MBHCI.org

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