St. Margaret’s Health –Spring Valley was the recipient of a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant to support expanding behavioral health services to our area. This grant will provide $2 Million dollars each year for two years to establish a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, The St. Margaret’s Center for Holistic Health & Wellness (CHHW), which will be located in the adjacent space in the Center for Family Health (CFH) in Princeton.
The Center will work primarily with residents of LaSalle, Bureau, Putnam and Marshall Counties. A new Program Director for CHHW has been hired. Mike Miroux, LCPC, has recently joined the St. Margaret’s staff. Construction will begin soon at the site in Princeton.
Mike returns to his hometown area, and is excited about this opportunity. He stated, “I think the Center for Holistic Health and Wellness will be looked at as a leader and model for providing innovate and effective behavioral health services in rural communities. I am excited about working with a dedicated team to expand access to comprehensive behavioral health care in the Illinois Valley.”
A key collaborating partner is the Arukah Institute, located in Princeton, IL. Arukah will work with St. Margaret’s to provide the high-quality, community-based care and to break down barriers that people often encounter when they try and get help. In addition to counseling, Arukah brings a strong wellness component through complementary therapies and other approaches, which are daily activities that all people can do to stay well. Arukah will relocate services to the new CHHW once renovation is completed so that any person walking in can receive wellness, counseling, crisis, psychiatry, primary care, or group/family therapies. Dr. Sarah B. Scruggs, CEO of the Arukah Institute and Lead Evaluator for the CHHW remarks, “We see this as a powerful way to increase care options and provide on-demand care for people in our rural area. We value our partnerships with, for example, OSF and other medical/behavioral health providers in the area, and the goal here is not to serve individuals exclusively at the Center. Rather, it’s to be a safe landing spot for people that are struggling, and then to find out what’s best for the person and get them there. People deserve choice in how they want to pursue their care. Plus it’s what works.”
Both Arukah and St. Margaret’s see that only half of the important work will occur in any physical “place.” The other half will occur out in the community right when and where people are in need. A great promise of the new CHHW is providing on-demand, mobile services 24/7 to help individuals in mental health or substance abuse crisis in their homes, schools, places of work, or other public spaces. A critical partner for this work is local law enforcement, as the responsibility of ‘round the clock care is usually shouldered by officers alone. This grant will allow social workers and counselors to work alongside law enforcement officers in order to provide proper and timely help to those needing mental healthcare and/or substance abuse interventions. Chief Tom Kammerer of the Princeton PD has been a driving force for this type of model in our area, and Princeton, Spring Valley, and Peru Police Departments as well as the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office have been early adopters of this model. This model is key for reducing recidivism and preventing hospital readmissions.
“The provision of 24/7 crisis response will help the police and Emergency Rooms divert people in need of services to a more appropriate type of care. The Living Room has been a proven method of addressing certain mental health crises, helping to deescalate potentially volatile encounters once they have been stabilized by police,” Chief Kammerer explains. “We intend to extend this service to those battling substance abuse, too. We believe this approach will save lives. We have already trained more than half of our officers in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and all of our staff has some measure of mental health training. We are grateful to St. Margaret’s and Arukah for including us, and our law enforcement partners, in this groundbreaking effort.”
But mental health and substance abuse are only part of the problem. Individuals often struggle with other “non-medical” health concerns, termed social determinants of health, which are responsible for 85% of a person’s overall health and include things like reliable employment, food, education, housing, social support, and family dynamic. And to meet these needs, the CHHW will leverage collaborations of the C5-Rural Network. C5-Rural (Collaborative Complementary, Conventional and Community-based Care for Rural Populations), formed in 2019, brings together on a monthly basis medical providers, schools, churches, social services, industry, law enforcement, and other community-based providers in order to develop integrative care strategies that bridge gaps in rural mental health and substance use prevention, treatment and recovery in new and innovative ways. St. Margaret’s and Arukah were among the first 5 organizations to join, and now the Network has grown to 36 members. C5-Rural includes members from LaSalle, Bureau, Marshall and Putnam counties, and has been tremendously successful at bringing otherwise siloed entities together to learn how to work together. Dr. Scruggs comments, “Inter-organizational collaborative care is difficult to do well, but it’s vital in an area like ours where resources are limited and people are underserved. C5-Rural has shown that this is possible, but it requires good communication, trust, and creativity to develop new workflows among otherwise separate organizations.”
The grant will allow for the hiring of clinicians to support the medical providers caring for patients needing mental health and substance abuse services. Hiring is underway for Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPC) and Behavioral Health Care Coordinators. While the primary location is going to be in Princeton, the plan is to also embed counselors in some of our larger primary care clinics to improve timely access to services, and to improve mental health services and assist physicians and Nurse Practitioners/Physician Assistants in attending to this patient population.
Watch for more information on the development of these services by following St. Margaret’s Health on Facebook or checking back on our website. More information regarding Arukah Institute of Healing, and the C5-Rural network, please visit Arukah Institute’s website.