The St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD) Board of Trustees has approved a two-year expansion of its pilot program designed to help address problematic behaviors on the local transit system in conjunction with Chestnut Health Systems™, a not-for-profit health and human services organization. SCCTD is investing nearly $317,000 in this effort, which will continue to enable mental health advisors to work alongside SCCTD Ambassadors, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and Metro Transit Public Safety to mitigate the number of behavioral incidences on and around the transit system. The financial investment includes increasing the number of clinicians on the transit system to four, which doubles efforts from the first year of the pilot.
The goal of the program is to help diminish the use of platforms and trains by “all day” riders; decrease argumentativeness and sleeping on the system; identify riders in need of community resources; convene with area social service and treatment providers to help said individuals; improve overall rider experiences; and search for additional state and federal funding to expand the scale, scope and reach of the program.
Chestnut will provide two, two-person teams that will work 40 hours per week to address transit-related issues. They will use motivational interviewing, along with a comprehensive, integrated, public health approach – known as Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) – that focuses early intervention and treatment services.
“We have seen the results of the pilot and believe this expanded partnership with Chestnut will play a key role in furthering the safety and security of the system,” said Herb Simmons, Chair of the St. Clair County Board of Trustees. “This program provides a level of assistance not currently available to riders, who may be experiencing a range of mental, physical and emotional challenges.”