Northwest Side neighborhoods open state’s first community-funded mental health clinic

By Sara Freund

Kedzie Center Executive Director, Dr. Angela Sedeño, and Program Development Coordinator, Matthew Hiller discuss a map of neighborhoods that the Kedzie Center will serve.  Photo by Sara Freund.

Kedzie Center Executive Director Dr. Angela Sedeño and Program Development Coordinator Matthew Hiller review the neighborhoods that the Kedzie Center will serve. Photo by Sara Freund/MEDILL.

Illinois’ first community-funded public mental health center, the Kedzie Center, will open next Wednesday at 4137 N Kedzie Ave. The center plans to provide a variety of outpatient therapies to residents in Albany Park, Irving Park, North Park and part of Forest Glen, funded by tax revenues approved by a neighborhood referendum.

Service will be provided on a case-by-case basis when community residents can’t afford to pay for them.

The public is invited to the open house of the center to tour the new facility, get more information about the services and meet the staff at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday.

The Kedzie Center is on a mission to heal, support and inform their local community. They will offer clinical services such as individual therapy for children, families, and adults in addition to group therapy, psychiatric counseling and bilingual services.

“We also really want to have a component focusing on community support—anything we can do to help educate the public about mental health issues. We intend to support the community in everything from dealing with everyday stressors and violence prevention to school-based work,” said Dr. Angela Sedeño, executive director of the Kedzie Center.

The Kedzie Center plans to be a resource for local organizations, religious leaders, and schools in the area to guide and educate them about mental health, Sedeño said.

“We were talking to a pastor and he just made a point that some people who come into his congregation have mental illness. There is a real social network there to support that person but stuff comes up that they don’t know how to deal with it. The thought was, if a resource was there or someone we could consult with, then we could build on what’s already existing and make it better,” said Matthew Hiller, a licensed social worker and program development coordinator at the Kedzie Center.

The Kedzie Center results from nearly 10 years of community outreach, education and new state legislation. First in 2004 and again in 2008, residents approved advisory referenda that asked if people would be willing to raise their own property taxes to support local public mental health services.

In 2012 the referendum became binding, a change made through state legislation signed by Gov. Pat Quinn. About 74 percent of residents approved the referendum this time and raised resident’s property taxes by .004 percent, an average of $16 per year for a $210,000 home, to support the local mental health services.

Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed a governing commission of nine area residents in North River, a consortium of all the neighborhoods covered by the center. The commission reviewed several proposals for the allocated funds.

“The Kedzie Center submitted the finest proposal I’ve ever seen. It was a commitment from the ground up for a program that was very different and focused on the needs of this community,” said Joyce Zick, president of the Governing Commission.

The proposal included an extensive three-part community needs assessment that Hiller coordinated. The assessment involved door-to-door surveys, meetings with local religious leaders and social services, and a health geographer to help identify risk factors in the community.

“Albany Park is a very young community, and a very diverse community so that has its own sets of challenges. If you go north, based on the needs assessment, there is more depression and social isolation in older adults,” Hiller said.

The information from the assessment allowed the Kedzie Center to focus on specific needs, such as bilingual services for Albany Park’s large Latino population.

Mental health care became even more serious in Chicago when the city shut down six of the city’s 12 remaining mental health clinics. At these clinics in Chicago, mostly on the South Side, only severely mentally ill patients can receive treatment. This prevents children, families, and seniors from getting help at the first sign trouble.

“When I campaigned for this, everyone I talked to called this a ‘no brainer’. They said of course we’ll vote for this, our community needs it,” said Diana Bryant, on the Board of Directors for the Coalition to Save Our Mental Health Clinics.

Bryant personally knows how vital it is for a community to receive mental health treatment.

“If this had existed in my neighborhood as a kid, I would not have suffered like I did. There would have been a place for me to talk,” Bryant said.

In the wake of city cutbacks and clinic closures, the North River community has “taken a huge first step in rebuilding Chicago’s mental health care,” said Michael Snedeker, executive director of Coalition to Save Our Mental Health.

U of C students join South Side community activists in fight for trauma center

Students for Health Equity hold a mock debate to discuss the trauma center campaign.

Students for Health Equity hold a mock debate to discuss the trauma center campaign.

By Courtney Dillard

Community activists have been fighting for the University of Chicago Medical Center to re-open its Level 1 trauma care center for years, but the pressure from U of C students has forced the administration to listen.

Students for Health Equity hosted a teach-in Tuesday on U of C’s campus to answer questions and debunk myths about the trauma center campaign. Group members say their different perspective gives them the ability to effect change.

“The administration listens to us with a different ear,” said Duff Morton, a graduate student and Students for Health Equity member. “When we take risks, the administration overreacts, and it benefits the campaign.”

In January 2013, Toussaint Losier, a University of Chicago Ph.D. student, was arrested during a protest at the university’s Center for Care and Discovery. After Losier’s arrest, Thomas F. Rosenbaum, university provost, sent an email to students promising an open forum for discussion about the trauma center. During that discussion, in May 2013, the medical center’s administration admitted for the first time that the South Side needed a trauma center.

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Vandals horse around Chicago’s latest public arts display

A horse statue designed to portray the Chicago flag is seen on display on the Exelon Plaza near the Chase Tower in Chicago's Loop. Lyndsey McKenna/Medill

A horse statue designed to portray the Chicago flag is seen on display on the Exelon Plaza near the Chase Tower in Chicago’s Loop. Lyndsey McKenna/Medill

By Lyndsey McKenna

Chicago’s newest public arts display is out of the gate, but the equine installation has proven to be fodder for vandals.

The Horses of Honor public art installation will be on display citywide through late November. The installation consists of 90 colorful 5 foot tall, 5-foot long replica horse statues designed to resemble the Chicago Police Department’s Mounted Patrol Unit horses.

According to Abbey Salch, project manger of the Horses of Honor project at Agency360, 60 of the statues are already on display, and another 30 will be unveiled in the weeks to come.

The statues will be auctioned off in December, and all proceeds will benefit the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. The foundation offers financial assistance to the families of fallen police officers and those severely injured on duty. To date, the foundation has given over $3.8 million dollars in aid.

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Jobless claims, leading indicators boost optimism on the economy

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Stores in the Chicago Loop are seeking new employees, which indicates continued strength in the job market. / megan k. rauch / MEDILL

By Megan Rauch

A gauge of the number of people joining the ranks of the unemployed fell to the lowest level since 2000, while the index of leading economic indicators rose more than expected, according to two reports Thursday that painted a reassuring picture of the economy.

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Chicago’s archbishop residence, a gem on the Gold Coast

The current residence of Chicago's archbishop located at 1555 N. State Parkway.

The current residence of Chicago’s archbishop located at 1555 N. State Parkway.

By Ramsen Shamon

It would be a dream listing: Unparalleled Victorian residence with three-stories, 19 chimneys and 30 rooms located in Chicago’s luxurious Gold Coast. Sophisticated red-brick construction with two-entry façades. Share a piece of history with renowned visitors like Pope John Paul II. Complete with a small chapel and 1.7 acres of priceless lakefront property.

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GATX Corp. shares higher on upbeat profit forecast

By Holly LaFon

GATX Corp. shares surged on Thursday even though the Chicago-based railcar leasing company turned in slightly below third-quarter results, as officials offered upbeat guidance for the 2014 year.

In the latest quarter, GATX had net income of $51.3 million or $1.14 per diluted share, compared to $53.8 million or $1.15 per diluted share in the year-ago quarter. Last year’s results were helped by a 6-cent a share benefit from special items, excluding that onetime factor, adjusted earnings a year ago were $1.09 per share.

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Concussion lawsuit settlement surrounding NCAA remains ‘under advisement’

By Beth Werge

The saga continues over the head injury lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

A $75 million settlement to provide medical testing to college athletes suspecting brain trauma from concussions and other head injuries during play has been tabled due to reservations from a district court judge.

At a motion hearing Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge John Z. Lee raised concerns about the proposed settlement against the NCAA, including whether the right people were included in the class and whether there is enough money set aside for the testing. Lee determined that he needs more time for consideration before granting preliminary approval, stating that the case “remains under advisement.”

The class action lawsuit, initiated with an individual complaint by former Eastern Illinois defensive back Adrian Arrington in 2011, was filed against the NCAA charging improper treatment of athletes’ concussions. Arrington suffered at least five concussions playing football in college, and this case is a consolidation of 10 lawsuits into one to keep from having to hold multiple sessions with various plaintiffs.

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