Bill Carruthers, a nationally known advocate for recovery and the peer support movement, has joined Highland Rivers Health as director of peer workforce development. Carruthers, who has shared his personal story of addiction, mental illness and his journey to recovery throughout the nation, was most recently director of the peer program for Gateway Behavioral Health Services in Chatham County.
“Bill Carruthers is an extremely passionate and energetic individual, and it’s impossible to hear him recount his personal story without feeling both compassion and inspiration,” said Highland Rivers CEO Melanie Dallas. “With peer support increasingly recognized as vital to mental health and addiction recovery, Bill is the right person to help grow our agency’s peer workforce while being a high-profile voice for recovery in the communities we serve.”
A native of Kansas City, Carruthers, 58, began using alcohol and drugs as a child, and lived a transient life for years, often homeless and moving from city to city all over the country. Eventually landing in Savannah in the 1980s, Carruthers grew tired of substance use and its associated problems and sought treatment 11 years ago. He has lived in recovery ever since.
Carruthers become involved in the peer movement in order to share his experience and help others. He became a peer-to-peer facilitator for the National Alliance for Mental Illness in 2008, and a Certified Peer Specialist in 2012. In 2016, Carruthers attained the highly specialized Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner credential.
“Recovery is not just about solving the crisis or stopping using drugs or alcohol, but about what comes after that – about building a life in your community that will sustain you and your recovery,” said Carruthers. “The services and supports that help people do that are vital and valuable to the community, and that is the heart of Highland Rivers Health, that’s what brought me here to keep doing my work.”
Carruthers is available to speak to organizations in communities served by Highland Rivers Health, including schools and colleges, parent/teacher organizations, church groups, law enforcement agencies, recovery groups, civic organizations, government agencies and other community groups.
Glenwood Primary School’s local school governance team meeting that was scheduled on Friday, Feb.9, has been rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 5, at 1:30 p.m. It will held in the conference room at the school.