The Bi-State Board of Commissioners approved a one-year contract at $353,520 with Chestnut Health Systems™ (Chestnut), a not-for-profit health and human services organization, for comprehensive behavioral health services focused on the N. Hanley and Civic Center Transit Centers. The goal of the program is to provide comprehensive behavioral health services, directly connecting riders/customers with appropriate Chestnut services, or warm transfer to alternate service providers. The model for this engagement of services from Chestnut mimics the highly successful pilot program already in place on the MetroLink Alignment within the St. Clair County Transit District with Chestnut.
“A comprehensive Metro Transit public safety platform recognizes that it is essential to engage in-need Riders/Customers with behavioral health services, in order to improve the health and safety of our riders and customers on the Metro Transit System. Only focusing on security enforcement measures, while failing to address the underlying health determinants responsible for many safety concerns, decreases the sense of safety in our Metro Transit community,” said Kevin Scott, Metro Transit General Manager of Public Safety.
In April of this year, the St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD) launched its one-year pilot program with Chestnut Health Systems™ and Metro Public Safety to address challenging behaviors by some riders of the local transit system. SCCTD is investing nearly $200,000 to enable mental health advisors, SCCTD Ambassadors, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, and Metro Transit Public Safety to mitigate the number of incidents. A two-person team from Chestnut works 40 hours per week to address transit-related issues. They use motivational interviewing, and a public health approach – known as Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) – that focuses on early intervention and treatment.
Data collection/metrics will be established to measure impact of this program in Missouri. In the first three months of the Illinois program, the team engaged with more than 220 individuals in St. Clair County. Forty-six people were connected to services in the community including shelters, food pantries and behavioral health agencies.