Behavioral health services offered to MetroLink riders

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Behavioral health services offered to MetroLink riders

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – Behavioral health services are offered to users in metro stations.

It is a partnership between Bi-State Development, which operates MetroLink, and Chestnut Health Systems. The hope is to improve the lives and safety of motorcyclists.

Two-person teams from Chestnut Health Systems are located in Missouri at the Civic Center and North Hanley locations. The goal of having these specialists in subway stations is to build relationships with riders when offering these behavioral health services.

Keith Forest uses MetroLink every day but had never heard of this program.

“If it can help people and get them back on track and get them back into society, that will be a blessing,” Forest says.

Forest says he has benefited from programs like this in the past and knows it can help others in the same way.

“Put them back on their feet,” says Forest. “Take them to houses or apartments or whatever they want. Put them in jobs and stuff like that.

Chestnut Health Systems team members offer help for mental health issues, the homeless population, and people struggling with substance abuse issues.

Jim Wallis of Chestnut Health Systems says that’s why building rapport between workers and runners has been key, being a friendly face that those in need can recognize on a daily basis.

It allows workers to track who requests services.

“Connecting them to the right services and staying connected is our staff’s challenge and protocol,” Wallis says.

The program started in Illinois with the St. Clair Country Transit District.

The partnership has expanded to Missouri over the past year, now serving more than 300 people each month. Bi-State Development’s general manager of security, Kevin Scott, said this was an aspect of security they were unable to address until recently.

“There are so many people here who use our system daily and need help,” says Scott. “No security intervention. No law enforcement intervention.

The partnership is set to expire in Missouri on December 1, but Bi-State Development will seek board approval to extend the program for an additional two years.

The Bi-State Development Council will decide on this extension at a meeting in November.

Scott says the contract in St. Clair County is set to expire on April 1, 2023. As that date gets closer, there will also be talk of expanding the partnership in Illinois.

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