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McLean County Plans For Adolescent Mental Health Outpatient Program

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.

A new McLean County initiative hopes to assist in young adults’ transition from psychiatric hospitalization back into the community.

Trisha Malott, the county’s Behavioral Health Coordinating Council (BHCC) advisor, said most schools and families are not prepared to handle this transition, and the Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Services program will fill that gap.

“It includes a period of time with both group modalities for treatment as well as individual therapy, linkage with community resources, a transition back to the school, as well as family work so that everyone is involved and that the youth get the help that they need,” Malott said.

The council approved the outpatient program at its June quarterly meeting Friday.

Malott said the purpose of the outpatient program is to meet the needs of adolescents with behavioral health concerns who are at risk of psychiatric hospitalization or who were just released from hospitalization.

“Helping them transition back into their schools, community, and family. And to help really boost up the services they receive in a difficult time,” she said.

After approval from the BHCC, Malott said the program will send out a request for proposals (RFP). Until RFP submissions are filed, Malott said she cannot provide any cost estimates.

“How they choose to put the program in place is going to modify the cost,” she said. “We are hoping to have a collaborative funding model ... but the county will be one of those contributors.”

She said the county is in conversations with local organizations to pool funding resources for the effort.

Police Screening Tool

McLean County was selected as a testing site for a new NYU law enforcement screening tool. Once publicly available, the tool would make it easier for police to determine possible behavioral health needs for people they come into contact with.

“There are a series of questions and observations that they can use with the tool, which ultimately will then help them determine one of the best options for that person, be it entry into the justice system or the hospital,” Malott said.

Malott said placing a person in the proper course of treatment not only addresses their mental health needs, but can reduce recidivism rates in the jail.

“It will be accessible to law enforcement on a mobile device—be it an iPad, a phone, an iPod—so that it’s something they can have with them, potentially in their pocket,” she said.

Additional Behavioral Health Matters

The county’s Frequent User Systems Engagement (FUSE) program is nearing completion. The space is being finalized with plans to open soon.

The program will serve residents with the highest behavioral health need. Malott explained by serving those with the highest need in FUSE, this opens space at other servicers for residents who need mental health assistance but have not been able to find care.

The county’s means of fitting residents with the care they need most is the mental health triage center, also set to open soon.

Malott said the center will have at least one triage center specialist and one peer working per shift. Staff will begin training the week of Aug. 5.

The triage center is focused on funneling residents into the program best fit for them. The center at 200 N. Front Street in Downtown Bloomington will not provide psychiatric services, but Malott said the county is seeking a telepsychiatrist for use in the county housed in the same building.

County Mental Health Full Segment

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