Lea Kirby-Hill believes the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic’s aftershocks such as substance abuse and mental health issues are yet to be realized.
“We have not seen the real impact but it’s coming,” she said. “The effects of the pandemic are just trickling in.”
Her Kirby Rehabilitation Inc., which on Wednesday marked the opening of its office in Matteson, its second south suburban location, is gearing up for that impact, adding staff in areas such as crisis intervention and bringing on mental health professionals.
A year ago, Kirby rolled out its mobile crisis response team, working with area police departments in domestic violence and mental health crisis situations.
Kirby-Hill, a Country Club Hills resident, opened a location last July in Dolton called The Comfort Zone, which provides 24/7 help to south suburban residents. The Matteson location, in office space near the Matteson Holiday Inn off the Interstate 57 and U.S. 30 interchange, will expand those efforts, she said.
Kirby Rehabilitation has developed a close collaboration with officials in Dolton, including the police and fire chiefs, but the crisis response service is available to police departments throughout the south suburbs, said Kirby-Hill, founder as well as president and CEO.
Along with responding to domestic violence incidents and assisting police, the crisis response team members are able to offer an alternative to a trip to the hospital or jail for people experiencing a mental health crisis, Kirby-Hill said.
“We’re supporting the police and decreasing the number of incarcerations,” she said. “We are there to de-escalate the situation.”
Kirby Rehabilitation recently began showing commercials on Chicago television stations to promote its services in substance abuse and mental health.
A young Black man talks to the camera saying “I just want to feel happy, I want to feel connected,” interspersed with images of him drinking alcohol and being helped home by friends after overindulging.
“I just need help,” he says, before information about connecting with Kirby Rehabilitation is shown.
Speaking at Wednesday’s ribbon cutting, state Rep. Debbie Meyers-Martin, D-Olympia Fields, said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has “shone a bright light on health disparities in our community, and mental health being one of them.”
“It is important for us to feel we finally have something that is very much needed and something we deserve in the Southland,” Meyers-Martin said.
More than two decades ago, Kirby-Hill started what was then called Today’s Single Parent, which was an outgrowth of her needing to find resources, as a single mom, for her two daughters.
The group used a community center in a Hyde Park grocery store, then later had office space in Chicago’s Roseland community.
Kirby Rehabilitation was organized in December 2016.
Kirby Rehabilitation is a for-profit business and gets revenue through fees for services, Medicaid reimbursement and grants, including grants totaling $1.3 million to fund the mobile response unit, Kirby-Hill said.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Upon the historic confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement:
“Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is one of the most impressive, qualified and fair-minded Supreme Court justices ever confirmed. Her dedication to economic justice, civil rights, reproductive health care access and other pressing issues exhibits her extensive expertise and commitment to justice under the law. As the first Black woman Supreme Court justice, Justice Jackson will defend the rights of all Americans, regardless of race or background, and work towards a more just system for generations to come.
We are excited to see how Justice Jackson uses her integrity, upstanding character and expert legal knowledge to positively impact our country and inspire the next generation of Black leaders. We stand with Justice Jackson in our dedication to public service and justice, and celebrate this monumental day in our history.
By nominating Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Biden has delivered on his promise of nominating the nation’s first Black woman Supreme Court justice with an established record of judicial fairness and a commitment to equal justice for all.”
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) is celebrating the signing of the Illinois Health Care and Human Service Reform Act, a historic measure to address the systemic racial inequalities within the state’s health care system, into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic devastated communities across America, it caused particular harm to families and neighborhoods that have faced decades of disinvestment and lack of opportunity due to systemic racism. To address systemic racism in Illinois, the Black Caucus identified four priority policy areas, including criminal justice, economic access, education, and health care. Today, measures addressing all four areas are now law,” ILBC Joint Caucus Chairperson state Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, said. “These initiatives will address the inequities in access to comprehensive health care for our communities. I offer my thanks to Rep. Lilly and Sen. Hunter for taking the lead to pass these much needed health care reform measures, which will improve the quality of life for all residents statewide.”
“The systems that bind and neglect people of color must be addressed, and grasped at the root, creating equity through investment,” state Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago, said. “The measures in this package reshape our state’s health care, leading with diversity, inclusion, and justice at the center.”
“This law helps protect hospital access for low-income communities devastated by the pandemic, helps build trust between patients and their doctors by requiring training for implicit bias, and puts the people in need of care first,” state Rep. Camille Y. Lilly, D-Chicago, said. “This law touches on a wide spectrum of issues that have proved problematic for too long. Black and Brown men, women, and children and low-income residents have held the burden of the health inequalities for generations, but today we took a step forward toward ensuring the quality health care that everyone deserves.”
“The Black community has experienced so much premature death at the hands of systemic racism,” state Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago, said. “While this legislation won’t solve everything with the sign of a pen, I am confident that the measures in this bill will right the wrongs in our state healthcare system, giving Illinoisans of color increased opportunity to attain emotional and physical wellness.”
“People in the Black community have lost faith in Illinois’ health care system because of unequal access to care. Quality health is a necessity and should be available to everyone, regardless of race or income,” Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, D-Maywood, said. “The Black community’s health and our care has been devalued for far too long. With this law, we are taking the first steps to reshape the direction of our state’s health care, leading with diversity, inclusion, and justice at the center.”
“These reforms are critical to ensuring fair and equal access to health care for all Illinoisans, but particularly those who have been left behind by our health care system in the past because of their race or their income,” state Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, Chairperson of the Illinois House Black Caucus, said. “I am extremely proud of the Black Caucus for doing the work necessary to create a better Illinois for all residents.”
House Bill 158 was signed into law today by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The signing of the law marks the enactment of all four pillars of the ILBC’s agenda to address systemic racism, developed in the summer and fall of 2020 through a series of hearings and working groups to combat bias and discrimination in criminal justice, economic opportunity, education, and health care.
HB 158 addresses the following aspects of health care and human services:
Hope everyone is well! The Village of Richton Park in partnership with Senior Citizen Advisory Commission will be hosting our first “Senior Giving Thanks Luncheon Drive Thru Event” on Saturday November 21st 2020. The event will be from 1:00pm to 3:00pm and will be held in front of our Richton Park Community Center.
The event will be open to all Richton Park senior residents. The Village is also reaching out to our federal and state legislatures, regarding any possible monetary donations to the event. The event will include, pre-prepackaged turkeys, gift cards, and gift bag giveaways.
Thank you to all of the husbands, wives, parents and children of military members for the sacrifices you make every day to support the brave men and women who serve our nation both at home and overseas!
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, about 12.5% of adults in Illinois have diabetes, but over 340,000 of those have not been diagnosed.
To learn more about your risk for diabetes and prevention, visit https://www.dph.