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A “one-stop” behavioral health hotline for the public is now available through a collaborative partnership between the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work and the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH). The DOH hotline for crisis support has been expanded to include access to mental health resources and substance use treatment services. Callers in need of these services can call Hawaiʻi C.A.R.E.S. (Coordinated Access Resource Entry System) for support in any of these areas 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To access Hawaiʻi C.A.R.E.S. services, call 1 (800) 753-6879—the number previously used by Crisis Line of Hawaiʻi.

The initiative combines services provided by the Crisis Line of Hawaiʻi—which offers crisis support to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis—and Hawaiʻi C.A.R.E.S.—which addresses gaps in substance use treatment services, including the identification of available beds for residential treatment, reducing wait time for entry into treatment programs and sharing electronic health information for better patient outcomes.

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Clifford Bersamira

“When you call Hawaiʻi C.A.R.E.S., you will be connected to a local crisis counselor who will ask a bit about you, what your needs are and how they can help,” said Kathryn Boyer, Hawaiʻi C.A.R.E.S. program director. “We are here to listen and to provide you with helpful resources to get you through the challenges you are facing during the pandemic, and beyond.”

A campaign to promote the new Hawaiʻi C.A.R.E.S. services will launch this week and run until mid-November, through the Hawaiʻi Association of Broadcasters Public Education Program. Television and radio public service announcements will let the public know that they can call Hawaiʻi C.A.R.E.S. for access to the expanded services.

“People who are experiencing a crisis often struggle with more than one behavioral or mental health issue,” said Eddie Mersereau, deputy director of the DOH Behavioral Health Services Administration. “The newly expanded Hawaiʻi C.A.R.E.S. allows us to provide a more comprehensive, tailored service for callers who need help in more than one area.”

“Using a social work lens that emphasizes the person-in-environment, our Hawaiʻi C.A.R.E.S. team helps individuals navigate the system and get the care and support they need,” said Clifford Bersamira, assistant professor in the department of social work and principal investigator for Hawaiʻi C.A.R.E.S..

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