© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

McLean County FUSE Seeks To Expand Mental Health Access

McLean County Executive Committee
Eric Stock
McLean County Mental Health Program Supervisor Trisha Malott (upper left) presented details of a proposed agreement with Chestnut Health Systems during a County Board Executive Commitee meeting.

One of McLean County's new programs aimed to address mental health is a step closer to reality.
The County Board's Executive Committee on Tuesday gave its approval to a contract with Chestnut Health Systems of Bloomington for FUSE, which stands for Frequent User Systems Engagement.

The full County Board will consider it next week.

McLean County Mental Health Program Supervisor Trisha Malott said the program aims to minimize time those identified with severe and chronic mental health disorders spend in the emergency room and the criminal justice system.

“We would hear anecdotally from police officers or their service providers or their emergency departments about any one specific person that they have seen perhaps 10 times in the past month," Malott explained.

She said FUSE is intended to make mental health services more accessible to more people by dedicating staff to identity and help treat those with severe and chronic mental illness, including those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or delusional disorder.

“I think we will see that our area service providers are able to have a greater capacity to take on more individuals who have a lower need,” Malott said. “That’s part of our intent, to take on the highest-need individuals.”

Staffing will include a program manager who has already been hired, along with a nurse and several case managers, including one to work specifically with substance abuse, Malott said. Chestnut will provide one full-time and one part-time case manager.

FUSE will be housed at the McLean County Health Department building at 200 W. Front St. in downtown Bloomington.

The countyis also rolling out a new mental health triage in that building and a telepsychiatry service this year.

The funding for the FUSE program, budgeted at $670,000 annually, comes from a sales tax increase which Bloomington and Normal approved several years ago.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in Central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.