All Center News

Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center of St. Clair County Inc.

505 South Eighth Street  •  East St. Louis, IL  62201-2919



Joseph Harper

Executive Director

 Jonnie Barkley

Executive Secretary

 (618) 482-7330

 Brian Stewart

Chief Operating Officer

(618) 482-7630

 Dr. Aqueel Khan

Medical Director 

(618) 482-7630

 Mary Jackson

Quality Assurance

(618) 482-7337

 Linda Rattler

Human Resources

(618) 482-7381

 LT Nash

Building Manager

(618) 482-7633

 David McCosky

Inventory Specialist

(618) 261-7010

 Rachel Ball


(618) 482-7626

Sylvia Jimminson

Intake Specialist

(618) 482-2574

Rita Byrd

Therapy & Transition

(618) 482-7617

Rena Vantreece

Child & Adolescent

(618) 482-7613

 Daryl Rice


Methadone Services

(618) 261-7041

 Gia Moore

Parenting for Success

(618) 482-7354

Keonna Pittman

Food & Nutrition

(618) 261-7039

 Kelly Clemons

Housing Program

(618) 261-7616

 Cynthia Whitley

Crisis Team Leader

(618) 261-7023

 Karen Jamison

Residential Services

 Aubrey Yates

Fathers & Families

(618) 482-7348


Fall Newsletter Theme: Heading into the Holidays

This newsletter’s purpose is to share information about The Center’s people and activities, 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

Celebrating Ms. Rattler’s 40 Years of Service

Ms. Rattler got her start at The Center 40 years ago on November 22. Her first position was as an administrative assistant. Then she began working in a day program assisting individuals with developmental disabilities. Although she has worked her way up to the head of HR, she truly loved being an administrative assistant and part of the day program because she was able to work directly with consumers.

We asked Ms. Rattler a few questions to highlight some of her most memorable experiences at The Center.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen during your time here?

Mr. Harper and our current leaders have been responsible for the biggest changes during Ms. Rattler’s tenure. They are really moving the center forward and allowing us to change with the times. The Center’s trajectory has drastically improved.

Before the advancements of this administration, one of the biggest changes she remembers is 10 years ago when our building here at 505 S. 8th St. was built. It was the first time most of the staff were under one roof.

What was one of your most memorable experiences?

Some of Ms. Rattler’s most memorable experiences came from department meet and greets. Employees from different departments would regularly come together to learn about the services provided at The Center and to get to know one another.

What do you like most about being here?

The Center truly feels like one big family. Everyone is willing to pitch in and lend a hand. It’s easy to see that the employees truly care about the friends and neighbors we serve.

The family atmosphere, truly enjoying the work, and a desire to see those we serve get the help and support they need is one of the major reasons Ms. Rattler has been a proud member of the Comprehensive family for decades.

What would you tell someone looking to start a career here? 

Doing your best and truly caring for the community members we serve is the best way to get the most out of being part of the Comprehensive family.

 Who’s New


Several new members joined our team in October. We would like to welcome each of our new team members.

Antoinette McGary Montavian Walton Raechell Young
Andrew Keeley Mariah Williams Andrea Canada
Juana Townsend

November’s Employee of the Month

Melissa Keller has been nominated as November’s employee of the month.

Melissa works in the Crisis Program and Reasons for Nomination: Melissa has been a tireless member of the Crisis Team. She has acted as a counselor, teacher, instructor and mentor with the many new team members hired. She has performed with concreted effort, an elastic patience with a clear willingness to help those new to crisis become key players in their own right.

Complete Your Trainings in Relias

You can log into Relias LMS by going to: Relias Learning.

Please check your Relias monthly and complete all assigned training.

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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 preceding month.
Going forward, the newsletter will be published on the second Monday of every month.


The Drop-In Center

Construction on the new “Drop-In Center” started in October.

The Center hopes to have the Drop-In Center open sometime this December or January.  The Drop-In Center will be able to accommodate individuals who are either mentally ill or homeless, it will offer a place to obtain food and other services.

A mental health drop-in center can provide a friendly environment for people who are struggling with mental health symptoms to recover. Also, a drop-in center as opposed to a homeless shelter usually does not provide a temporary residence. It aims to provide other services to endangered or disadvantaged groups in the community, including the homeless, people with addictions, or suffering from mental illness.

The Drop-in Center’s hours of operation will be from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Crossword Puzzle

 The first person who submits the most correct answers to will receive a ticket for a free lunch. The crossword puzzles can be printed out from this page, and hard copies are available at the front desk.

What to Expect from the 988 Hotline


The vision for the 988 Hotline is to create the mental health equivalent of 911. 988 Call centers will specialize in advanced de-escalation techniques designed to prevent suicide attempts and provide urgent, advanced support for mental health crises.

988 Rollout Timeline

988 Call centers will be rolled out over the next five years with specific goals regarding capacity and accessibility

  • 2023, The 988 call centers will have the capacity to be the “primary call center” for 90% of the calls received
  • 2025, The project will provide 80% of the country with access to mobile crisis response teams.
  • 2027, 80% Of the country will be able to access community-based short-term residential treatment for mental health and/or substance use emergencies

Currently, overflow from 988 calls will be handled by five existing lifeline centers across the state of Illinois. Each center is responsible for designating its own coverage area.

Visit This Illinois Department of Human Services webpage for more information on the 988 program.

Pet Connection

Pets offer an opportunity to share love and caring behavior with something living. The animal does not judge by appearance, social identity, or any of the superficial factors humans consider essential.

The relationship is straightforward and uncomplicated, and trust is gained by showing love and attention. Pets offer companionship and so much more.

A pet can be a great source of comfort and motivation. In many ways, pets can help us to live mentally healthier lives.

How can a pet help my mental health?

Caring for a pet can help our mental health in many ways, including:

  •  Increasing Your Physical Activity– Dog owners are likely to take their pets for a walk or run every day. This can be a fun way to fit exercise into your routine.
  • Providing Companionship– Pets can give you a sense of security and someone to share the day with. Caring for them can help you feel wanted and needed. This can be especially valuable for older people or those who live alone.
  •  Reducing anxiety. The companionship of a pet can help to ease your anxiety.
  • Boosting Self-Confidence– Pets can be great listeners, offer unconditional love, and won’t criticize you. This can help your self-confidence, especially if you feel isolated or misunderstood.
  • Adding Structure to Your Day– Feeding, exercising, and caring for a pet can help you keep to a daily routine, which can help you feel more grounded and focused. It can give your day purpose and a sense of achievement.

Pets may also help with specific conditions. For example, people with ADHD may benefit from the structure and routine that a pet needs. Managing their pet’s responsibilities and keeping track of time – to feed or walk them on time, for example – may help them in other areas of their lives. Some people with ADHD are hyperactive – especially children – and playing with a pet can be a great way to release excess energy, whether that’s walking a dog or running around with a kitten.

Autistic people can benefit from having a pet. Pets provide the kind of unconditional relationship that can help someone build social skills and confidence. They can provide a sense of calm and reassurance if their owner feels overwhelmed. Autistic children with sensory issues can involve their pets in sensory integration activities to help them get used to how something feels against their skin or how it smells or sounds.

Is having a pet right for me?

Having a pet is a serious commitment and not something to do on a whim. You’ll need to have the time, money, and energy for a pet, as well as a calm home environment with routine and consistency. Fostering a pet or helping a friend with theirs can help you see whether having your own is right for you.

When you’re ready to think about getting a pet, consider:

  • How much outdoor space do you have
  • How active you are
  • How much time do you have to spend with your pet
  • How much money do you have for vet’s bills, insurance, food, toys, etc.? Some charities offer low-cost vet care, but they are limited to certain areas and have financial criteria

What If I Can’t Have a Pet?

If you can’t afford a pet, live somewhere you’re not allowed one, or you’re worried about having times when you’re too unwell to care for a pet, there are other options.

The simplest option may be spending time with friends’ pets, whether that’s walking their dogs, stroking their cats, or cuddling their guinea pigs. They might be glad to have someone to pet sit for them while they’re on holiday. You can also consider signing up as a house sitter: you look after someone’s home, garden, and pets in return for free accommodation.

If you miss having a pet in your life, contact Gateway 4 Paws or the St. Clair County Animal Services. They connect dog owners to local people who would love to walk or play with a dog. They also need people to foster pets while their owners are in hospital.

Contact a pet rescue center in near you to see what volunteering opportunities they may have. They may need volunteers to exercise, care for and socialize their pets. You could consider fostering an animal if you can have a pet on a short-term basis but can’t commit to one long-term. Some shy or scared animals need the peace and quiet of a home while waiting to be adopted.

Insurance Enrollment

Most of us have probably seen the emails dropping into our inboxes regarding open enrollment. The time for open enrollment is right around the corner. On Friday, Novmeber 18th, representatives from the Crane agency will be here to answer questions. A meeting schedule will be made here to answer any questions.
Check your email for an updated meeting schedule.

Parking Lot Problems

Several employees have mentioned they were unsure how to get out of the parking lot in the evening after the gate closes.

Fear not, you’re not going to be locked in. Simply, roll your car close to the gate, and it will open.

Center Stage: Jasmine Jackson

This article is an opportunity to introduce all CBHC staff to Jasmine Jackson. Jasmine is
out NOMS Data Collector in connection with the Center’s recent federal award of a SAMSHA
grant. Jasmine’s role entails interviewing clients with mental health or co-occurring diagnoses in
an effort to help demonstrate how the Center’s work influences and impacts the immediate

Jasmine explains that the role was brought to her attention by her father-in-law, Daryl
Rice. She explained that after her prior experience in child care, she was looking for more of an
opportunity to broaden her skill set with a wider array of people. She stated that the most
surprising thing about her time here so far that been the level of gratitude expressed by clients
themselves in taking the time to speak with them.

Beginning this month, Jasmine has accepted an appointment as Manager for the Drop-In
Center on the first floor. Upon its completion, she will be able to continue working to build
relationships with clients and promote their successful search for mental health assistance.

The Latest on COVID-19 Variants

A new subvariant of the omicron variant of the coronavirus is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC data shows that the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants each made up 5.7 percent of the total number of cases in the country in the past week. The BA.5 subvariant, which has dominated the cases in the U.S. for months, made up 67.9 percent, down from its peak in late August when it made up almost 90 percent of all cases in the country.

The BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants have increasingly spread in recent weeks, only trailing the BA.5 and BA.4.6 subvariants in making up the most cases.

Information around COVID and current variants is constantly evolving. Keep an eye on the CDC website for the latest Covid information.

The Center is currently planning to offer booster shots in early December.

Helping For The Holidays

You’ve probably seen the white and red boxes in the lobby. But just in case you haven’t, the center will be participating in Toys for Tots again this holiday season. If you’re in a giving mood, simply bring a new, unwrapped toy and place it in the box.

This year, we will be adding a twist for our consumers. In the past, many consumers have expressed they need a toy donation for the holidays. We will be using the donation box in the main hallway off the lobby by the employee entrance to collect toys for the children of our consumers.

If you hear of someone in need of a donation you can also let them know they can go online and submit a donation request.

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 following month.
Going forward, the newsletter will be published on the second Monday of every month.