Chestnut Health Systems™ is partnering with St. Louis Metro Transit to help improve riders’ health and safety.
Funding from Bi-State Development totaling $350,000 will enable Chestnut to place behavioral health providers on MetroLink and MetroBus vehicles. A similar project between Chestnut and the St. Clair County Transit District serves as a model for the local one-year pilot project.
Two, two-person teams from Chestnut will work 40 hours per week to address transit-related issues involving riders who live with substance use disorder and/or mental health conditions. St. Louis Metro Transit security personnel will work alongside the Chestnut teams and will receive mental health awareness and de-escalation training. The project will focus on the North Hanley Transit Center and the Civic Center Transit Center.
The project aims to:
- Reduce loitering on the system by “all-day” riders and those using Metro Transit Centers for non-transportation related needs.
- Address alcohol and drug use on the transit system.
- Reduce panhandling, argumentativeness, sleeping and other behaviors that can impact operations.
- Provide early detection and intervention for riders who need services.
- Improve visibility of St. Louis Metro Transit system safety, security and rider satisfaction initiatives.
- Improve communication between riders and security staff.
- Improve the overall rider experience.
The behavioral health teams will deliver early intervention and treatment services. Riders/visitors in need will receive in-the-moment crisis intervention and behavioral health support. Those willing to engage will be connected to services provided by Chestnut or by another provider. Help might be in the form of temporary shelter, food and/or medication. When the behavioral health teams are not available, St. Louis Metro Transit security personnel will have access to behavioral health consultation and help by phone or video link.