March 2024

All Center News

Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center of St. Clair County Inc.

505 South Eighth Street  •  East St. Louis, IL  62201


This newsletter’s purpose is to share information about The Center’s people and activities [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]  in each department and by each employee, in order to highlight the contributions made by all in helping The Center reach its goals. 

 The Center’s Internet address is:
You can also check us out on Facebook.

Front Desk
(618) 482-7330

 Hours of Operation
8:00am – 5:00pm [/expander_maker]

Memo from Management

It is now grant application season for FY25 and we are preparing applications and budgets.  This includes both renewal of existing grants and new applications.  

We already know that we have been awarded one new grant from IDPH: Child/Adolescent Preventing ACES post COVID Program FY24.  We are carrying out the work together with another non-profit, East Side Aligned.   

[expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]   

    The program will provide training for teachers in Districts 189 and 187, community wide training, and a youth summer institute. 

     Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can have significant consequences, including associations with poor health outcomes (e.g., asthma, cancer, heart disease), health risk behaviors (e.g., current smoking and heavy drinking), mental health challenges (depression, anxiety), and socioeconomic challenges (e.g., unemployment and no health insurance).  

    The CDC’s landmark ACEs Study identified profound connections between experiences of abuse, neglect, and household stress before age 18 and a broad range of poor physical, mental health, and social outcomes across the lifespan. 

     Social and educational disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated concerns about children/adolescents’ mental health and suicidal behavior.  

    Data from the 2021 Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey (ABES) indicate that 37.1% of U.S. high school students reported poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 19.9% considering and 9.0% attempting suicide in the preceding year (CDC, 2022).  

    Preventing trauma, building resilience, and supporting healing are possible and necessary to disrupt this intergenerational transmission of trauma and create the healthy environments that make it possible for children/adolescents to thrive. 


    Women’s History Month

    The celebration of Women’s History Month originated from a grassroots movement in Santa Rosa, California  [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]   

      In 1978, the school district of Sonoma, California, organized a weeklong celebration called “Women’s History Week”. During this event, presentations were held at numerous schools, students participated in a “Real Woman” essay contest, and a lively parade took place in downtown Santa Rosa. 

      The idea gained momentum, spreading to various communities, school districts, and organizations across the United States. 

      In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation, designating the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. 

      The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution to establish a national celebration. 

      Finally, in 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress officially designated the entire month of March as Women’s History Month

      From the pioneering efforts of Abigail Adams to the tireless advocacy of suffragists like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, women have left an indelible mark on U.S. history. Let’s continue to honor their contributions and celebrate the achievements of women worldwide!  


      March’s Employee of the Month

      Our March employee of the month is Jimmie Lockett!  Jimmie is a member of our facilities team and is celebrating his 40th year with CBHC this month! [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]   

      Those of you who know Jimmie are aware of his kind and welcoming personality.  When I (Jordan) was new here, Jimmie gave such kind and friendly greetings that he was one of the first people I knew by name.  Sedat shares that he is also well-known and beloved by many of our long-term residential clients!

      When you see him, be sure to say both congratulations and thank you to the amazing Jimmie Lockett who embodies the friendly, personal, and service-oriented attitude that we want all our clients, families, and team members to experience! [/expander_maker]

      Happy Irish-American Heritage Month!

      March is Irish-American Heritage Month, a chance for us to tip back a Guinness and contemplate the Irish blood that flows through the heart of America; From John F. Kennedy to Brad Pitt, some of the most famous, prolific, and influential Americans are of Irish descent.

      However, when it comes to the field of mental health few people have been more impactful than Dr. Sean Desmond (Des) McGrath was instrumental in revolutionizing mental health care in Ireland, [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]   

      particularly through his leadership at St John of God Hospital in Stillorgan from the 1950s to the 1990s. McGrath introduced the “open-door system,” significantly changing the treatment landscape by promoting patient freedom, therapy diversity, and group activities.

      This approach not only improved patient care within the hospital but also influenced nationwide practices towards more humane psychiatric care.

      Under McGrath’s direction, the hospital expanded its services to include specialized treatments for a range of mental health issues, demonstrating a commitment to holistic and individualized care.

      His efforts played a key role in the shift towards community-based care, drastically reducing inpatient numbers and setting new standards for mental health services in Ireland.

      Moreover, McGrath’s dedication to education and training helped shape future generations of mental health professionals, ensuring his compassionate care philosophy endured.

      His legacy is a testament to the significant impact innovative thinking and leadership can have on transforming mental health care.


        March’s Birthdays

      Wishing a BIG happy birthday to all of those in the CBHC family!


      Jessica Dansberry 3/1  Vicki Wicks
      Krysty Walton
      Shalanna West
      Aklilu Yeshiwas
      Fonda Johnson
      Antoinette McGary 3/8  Chris Rhodes
      Carnell Cannon
      Paris York 3/20 Estelisa Bevely
      Aimee Dunn

      Who’s New

      We are thrilled to welcome our newest members of the CBHC family!

      Amy Baldridge Supportive Housing Mariah Ball
      Records and Billing 
      Charles Doram SMARTS/ARTS
      Kim Fickinger Children and Adolescents Jalei Johnson SMARTS/ARTS  

      Thank you for all that you do as we celebrate National Social Workers Month!

      March marks National Social Workers Month, a time to celebrate the profound impact social workers have on society. At “The Center,” we deeply appreciate our social workers, who tirelessly advocate for clients within the mental health and healthcare systems.  [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]   

      Their personal commitment to improving lives extends beyond professional duty, as they actively help our clients and communities forge paths to better futures. Through their dedication, they not only ensure individuals are properly represented and supported but also contribute to building a safer, more prosperous community. Their work embodies the essence of compassion and social responsibility, making them invaluable pillars of our community.


      Recovery Conference Coming Soon!

      The Recovery Confrence is coming in September, be on the lookout for more information as we set the location.

      We will have a contest for our client to choose the theme!

      East Campus

      Did you ever go to camp or a weekend event at a retreat center?  If so, the East Campus might bring back some memories.  Tucked back away from the road around a large central parking lot and greenspace, surrounded by trees with a covered picnic area, the East Campus is now open for clients.[expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]   

          This peaceful and beautiful campus is now open and serving clients! 

        CBHC purchased the site from Call for Help in November of last year.  Since then we have been hard at work making repairs and upgrades to all three buildings.  On February 14 the Leubben Center Welcomed its first two supervised residential clients.  We have since welcomed 7 clients total to this comfortable and friendly 16-bed space.  The Jobe Center is preparing to open to clients very soon. 

        We are overjoyed to be able to serve more clients in need and welcome all the new staff that have joined our team to make it possible! 


        Make Your Health Shine Thanks To Sunshine

        Sunshine plays a pivotal role in both physical and mental health, casting a glow that extends far beyond mere illumination. Exposure to sunlight triggers the skin’s production of vitamin D, essential for bone health, immune system function, and potentially warding off a myriad of health conditions.

        [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] 

        Beyond its physical benefits, sunlight significantly impacts mental well-being. Natural light has been shown to elevate mood, reduce stress, and alleviate symptoms of depression by regulating the body’s production of serotonin, a key neurotransmitter in maintaining mood balance.

        For urban dwellers, the concrete jungle often limits access to natural sunlight, but there are simple ways to incorporate more sunshine into daily life.

        Taking short walks during lunch breaks, opting for outdoor seating at cafés, or even arranging workspaces near windows can enhance sunlight exposure.

        Cities with parks and green spaces offer a dual advantage, providing not only sunshine but also a serene environment to relax and unwind.

        Embracing these moments under the sun can lead to significant health improvements, including better sleep patterns, enhanced mood, and increased vitamin D levels.

        The psychological uplift from spending time in sunlight is an accessible and natural remedy, fostering a sense of well-being and contentment amidst the hustle and bustle of city life.


        A new Clinical Manager for Child and Adolescent


        This month, Kimberley (Kim) Fickinger, LCPC joined the CBHC team as Clinical Manager of the Child and Adolescent Services program. She brings to the program her many years of counseling experience, supervisory capability as a Qualified Mental Health Practitioner, and an excitement for the work that CBHC does.

        [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]   

        She joins Case Manager Montavian (Monty) Walton, Therapist Rena Vantreece, and Family Resource Provider Vivian Gaines-White.

        The Child and Adolescent Services at Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center is an outpatient counseling program for children ages 5-18. Each child will be matched with a mental health professional who can see them for counseling services at their school or here at our campus. Our Family Resource Manager to help support the entire family with connections to community resources.

        As you may know, our crisis responders see many children, and we are excited to be able to expand the number of children for whom we can provide ongoing services.


        Unbelievable First Year for the Drop-In Center


        The drop-in center’s inaugural year has been nothing short of amazing. With over 4000 visitors coming through the door, our tireless staff of six (Carla Ellis, Jasmine Jackson, Zane Muse, DeannaK elsay, Andrea Rucker, and Amber Cerentano , and Kenya Hooper have undoubtably improved countless lives in the community as well as strengthening and enriched the fabric of our community.

        [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] 

        Not only are visitors able to get a meal, clothes, take care of hygienic needs, and most importantly feel safe, they have found a place where they know they are cared about.

        It breaks my heart to hear many of our clients report their time in the drop-in center is one of the few is only times in their lives where they feel someone truly cared for them.

        Also, the respect and appreciation our consumers have for the drop-in center is evident nearly every day as we see consumers policing themselves, and being so thankful for the opportunities presented them, they find ways that they can personally improve the experience of the Drop-In Center for not only themselves but all the consumers who come through the door.

        We could not have created such a wonderful experience without each and every member of The Center. You were patient with this as we worked our way through building and opening the Drop-In Center. Many of you open your departments to Drop-In Center consumers assisting them in whatever ways you can.


        Show Some Love, Donate Ready-To-Eat Food at the Drop-In Center

        The Drop-In Center is collecting ready-to-eat shelf-stable food items and water bottles!  Granola/protein bars, individual bags of snacks, tuna salad kits: any food that doesn’t require refrigeration, heating, or a can opener.  [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]   

        As you know, since opening less than a year ago, the Drop-In Center has been providing amazing services and helping to connect potential clients to our other services.  It’s been a great way for us to provide earlier interventions and has served hundreds of clients thousands of times! 

        BUT, the Drop-In Center relies on donated supplies to serve clients.  Each month this year we will feature a monthly donation need. 

        This is your chance to help out, invite your friends and family to help out or motivate your community organization or church to serve the unhoused population of St. Clair County and surrounding communities. 

        For February the Drop-In Center is collecting ready-to-eat shelf-stable food items and water bottles!  Granola/protein bars, individual bags of snacks, tuna salad kits: any food that doesn’t require refrigeration, heating, or a can opener.
        The Drop-In Center is taking donations of these food items that clients will be able to take with them so they can have something to eat over the weekend.
        We would also love water bottles so that clients will be able to refill them with water or juice at the Drop-In Center and take a beverage with them.  If you or someone you know would like to contribute, please leave your items in the large box outside of the Drop-In Center doors.
        Love is on our minds in February. What better way to show love for your neighbors than to do what you can to make sure no one goes hungry.


        Pet Connection

        The top picture is of our dogs, Penny, Chloe, and Buddy. The bottom picture is our cat, Monroe.

        March’s Pets of the Month belong to Brian Rowe. He and his husband have a furry family that includes one cat and three dogs.   [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]   

        Monroe is 16 years old.  When my spouse moved out of his family’s home, he left Monroe there and 10 years later, they returned him to live with us.  He is a great cat and will play fetch for hours with a milk jug ring or a twisty tie!  He doesn’t want to have anything to do with anyone in our house except me and, I am not a cat person. 

         Chloe is a 14 year old pit bull who loooooves to be cuddled.  Penny and Buddy are almost 2 years old and are American Bully and Pit Bull predominantly but also have a few others in their makeup.  They are siblings who were adopted at a rescue.  Buddy loves to play fetch and Penny suffers from fear of missing out so she is always in your business. 


        We Want Your Pets!!!


        Thanks to all the chatter we hear as we move through the building, we know The Pet Connection is incredibly popular.

        It’s a fact, probably since the beginning of time, we’ve loved hearing about one another’s pets.
        But we can’t do without you.

        We need pets to feature!

        So, if you have a furry, slimy, slithery, or even feathery family member you’d like to tell us about.

        Simply, send an email to Jordan Dollar ( We’d love to hear about little Fluffy, Fido, or Skittles

        The Benefits of Running

        Spring is finally upon us. For many of us seeking to either meet (or restart) New Year’s 

         Resolutions regarding getting in better shape of losing weight, we will turn to running or jogging. Arguably, running or jogging is a more accessible means to enter into physical exercise.

          [expander_maker id=”2″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]  

         Spring is finally upon us. For many of us seeking to either meet (or restart) New Year’s 

         Resolutions regarding getting in better shape of losing weight, we will turn to running or jogging. Arguably, running or jogging is a more accessible means to enter into physical exercise. One sets their own pace, one chooses the time and place one exercises, and one decides whether to exercise alone or with others.  


        There are plenty of health benefits associated with running or jogging regularly. These can include reduced risk of death from heart attack or stroke, cardiovascular disease, developing cancer or developing neurological diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Physically, benefits can include strengthening your joints and bones (No, running does not wreck your knees!), better cognitive function by improving blood flow to the brain, lower the effects of one’s personal stress levels.  


        Many of these physical benefits are tied to one’s Max VO2, or the maximum rate of oxygen consumption attainable during physical exertion. VO2 is measured in millimeters of oxygen consumed in a minute per kilogram of body weight (mL/kg/min). A higher value means you are in generally good cardiovascular shape, though it could also be an indication of loss of body fat. This measure shows how well your heart pushes blood to your muscles and how efficiently your muscles can extract oxygen from your circulating blood. When one takes in oxygen from the air, a metabolic reaction is set off within your muscle cells that gives them an energy called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). You therefore will breath deeper and faster while exercising because of your body’s needs more energy to work. This measure does decrease with age, though regular exercise can slow its decline.   


        Beyond the physical and medical benefits, there are mental/sense of self elements to running. Whether it is a matter of creating a habit of setting goals and seeking to achieve them or seeking to improve your body’s efficiency or coordination, running (alongside Yoga, swimming, or cycling) is a useful, economic means for attaining these aims. 


        Crossword Puzzle

        The first person who submits the most correct answers to the front desk will receive a ticket for a free lunch. Hard copies are available at the front desk.


        Get in the News

        Each month’s newsletter can be found at:
        Questions, comments, or content suggestions can be sent to:

        Important Dates

        The cutoff for newsletter content suggestions is the last weekday of the previous month.