Blog General The Tragic Origin of Community Wellness, the AltHealNet

The Tragic Origin of Community Wellness, the AltHealNet

Sunday, January 28, 2024

For over 18 years, Community Wellness Collaborative has served San Diego providing essential holistic health and wellness services to help the body, mind, and spirit. But very few know the true origin of our organization began several years before with unspeakable tragedy. 

After graduating college, our founder, Ryan Altman spent 5 years traveling the World and learning about holistic practices along the way; Yoga in India, Reiki in Israel, Massage in Thailand, and a little on traditional herbology in Tibet. He spent half of each year working in France or Germany to earn savings, and the other half traveling further East to expand his knowledge base and explore the World. 

Back in the US, Ryan had a half-brother, Joshua Scott Altman, living with his father and stepmother, whom he had rarely seen over the years. They had occasionally visited one another for holidays but had always lived in different cities and never got to be all that close. One day, Ryan called Joshua from France to wish him a Happy Birthday and he became concerned. Joshua was having difficulty communicating clearly and spoke in scattered fragments as if on amphetamines. Concerned with his brother’s well-being, he made plans to return to the States to spend Thanksgiving with the family, something he had not done in over 5 years. 

There he discovered that doctors had been treating Josh’s “ADHD” with ever-increasing doses of medication, and it was changing him. His communication skills were diminishing, and he was behaving erratically. This led to several incidents of bullying in school which culminated one day on the bus, the day after Thanksgiving break. Having just said goodbye to his brother whom he had not seen in several years, Joshua took his own life at the age of 14.  

Joshua Scott Altman
Joshua Scott Altman (1987-2001)

Josh’s death not only took a precious young life, but also destroyed that side of Ryan’s family. It is impossible to overstate how devastating the loss of a child is to parents. This inspired Ryan to dedicate his life to improving the accessibility for holistic options in health care. 

Ryan immediately made plans to move back to the US permanently to begin his studies at Pacific College in San Diego. While obtaining his degree in acupuncture and certifications in massage and bodywork, Ryan began assembling his team and coordinating outreach events that would grow into the organization you know today. 

Community Wellness Collaborative was originally known as “Alternative Healing Network” or “AltHealNet” for short, to honor Joshua Scott Altman’s struggle, and through it to hopefully help others find balance through more natural means. We hope that our work might help others find natural or holistic methods of treating their conditions and to date has provided over 32,000 free services for those in need.

Click here to DONATE and support our community outreach efforts!

If you or someone you love is in crisis or contemplating suicide, please call the Suicide Crisis line at 888-724-7240 or dial 988 from a San Diego based cell number. 

What is your story? What brought you to holistic wellness options? How did you find us at Community Wellness Collaborative? Please share in the comments. 

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