Contact Us | Services | Recent Successes

Improving the availability of inclusive mental health
services for all residents in Clay, Platte and Ray counties.

Leon's Story from Heartland Center:
Building a New Life with a Little Help

It was the first time he had been in trouble his entire 44 years of life. He was detained for 10 months while waiting for his court date, which was plenty of time for Leon to decide that enough was enough.

He started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana just after he got married in 1993, but his wife didn’t approve of it. Six years later, he was divorced and free to do whatever he wanted. So for the next 15 years, he worked hard and partied harder. “I didn’t think I had a problem because I kept my job and paid my bills,” he said.

But the using accelerated, and suddenly he found himself in the county jail with a high bond. He was mad at the world, but that didn’t stop him from observing what was going on around him. “I saw the same offenders come and go. It was a pattern that I didn’t want to repeat,” Leon remembers.

He learned a lot while he was there. He learned to be more humble and how to live with a group of people. He learned how to manage his anger, but he didn’t learn how to manage his addiction and live a life of recovery until after he was released.

As a condition of his probation, Leon was required to attend treatment at the Heartland Center Liberty location for three months following his time in jail. He was bitter about it at first, but he believes that he was better for it in the long run. “Heartland Center made me a different person. They helped me be open instead of keeping it all inside. I’ve been blessed ever since I’ve been out. I’m ready to just live life right,” he said

For Leon, living life right means making good choices like not drinking and smoking, but it also means taking care of his health. After a failed urine analysis test at Heartland Center, they recommended he see a doctor. That’s when he learned he had diabetes. “I didn’t have any symptoms in jail. I was on a high-carb diet there, and I lost a lot of weight, but I never had my blood sugar checked. Since then, I have learned how to eat right, exercise and take medication to manage my diabetes.”

Leon says his body feels good now. He also says he feels healthy and strong in his mind, thanks to what he learned about himself at Heartland Center. “My eyes were opened to what other people were going through, and I realized it wasn’t a path I wanted to follow. When I got out of jail, I was different. I stopped using. I started hanging out with my family instead of my ‘friends.’ When I was using, I was a slacker, but now I’m a go-getter. Everyone saw that I was changed.”

The Clay, Platte, Ray Mental Health Board of Trustees
3100 NE 83rd Street, #2700, Kansas City, MO 64119 • (816) 468-1772 •
website questions: