Chestnut Health Systems partners with Bi-State Metro and St. Clair County Transit District to place peer specialists on commuter trains and on transit system property in Illinois and Missouri.
The specialists engage riders who may need services and connect them to supports in which they are interested and willing to participate. The program focuses on passengers who present as homeless, show symptoms of intoxication, appear to be either under the influence of substances or experiencing mental health symptoms, or are seen panhandling, loitering, or riding the train for excessive lengths of time. Chestnut peer specialists connect riders to crisis response, transportation to services, intake screenings, primary care, substance use or mental health assessments/counseling, medication services, and community-based and peer support services.
Peer specialist Shane Spurgeon recently shared this story:
"A rider we met several months back was unhoused and down on his luck. Staff shared resources and the rider went to the Empowerment Center day after day."
The St. Louis Empowerment Center is a drop-in recovery center for people facing issues related to mental health, substance use, or co-occurring disorders. Consumers can access support and educational groups and develop skills and competencies through exposure to their peers.
"Long story short," said Shane, "rider ended up in a shelter and started getting his life back together. Rider told me one day he applied for a Metro position for employment.
He is now a full-time employee of Metro! I forgot his exact position (just so happy and excited for him I forgot what he said.)"
Feel Good Friday highlights patient, client, and staff success stories. We hope to make our employees feel rewarded and uplifted about their work.