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Just in time for Mental Health Awareness Month, a new data dashboard tracking behavioral health provides key information and statistics on substance use, homelessness and mental health in Hawaiʻi. The Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH), in partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Center on Aging, Pacific Health Analytics Collaborative (PHAC), has launched the Hawaiʻi Behavioral Health Dashboard. This new online tool tracks progress toward improving our system of care and services provided in each of these three areas.

“This new resource is a ‘one-stop shop’ for anyone needing information on behavioral health in the state,” said Victoria Fan, interim director of the Center on Aging and director of the PHAC research lab. “The dashboard relies on our partnership with DOH and our talented UH students who learn and apply data, science and health analytic skills for the community good.”

Comparing Hawaiʻi data to national sources

The Hawaiʻi Behavioral Health Dashboard brings together more than 10 data sources to display national and state-specific statistics, providing key indicators and insights in one convenient online location. For example, visitors to the dashboard can learn how substance use in Hawaiʻi measures up against national indicators. They can also track and explore statistics on inpatient stays and drug prescriptions, and review homelessness numbers and mental health emergency calls on Oʻahu and Maui.

The dashboard also contains information about Hawaiʻi CARES, the state’s 24/7 help line for crisis support, referral to treatment for mental health and substance use, and COVID-19 isolation/quarantine services. In 2020, Hawaiʻi CARES handled more than 130,000 calls—a 50% increase in call volume over 2019. Between August and September 2020, when the state was experiencing the largest spike of COVID-19 cases to-date, Hawaiʻi CARES answered 29,800 calls for help—its highest number ever.

Data that can be turned into action

“With DOH support, we have pursued a comprehensive and systematic approach to data while presenting information to users in a format in an accessible manner,” said Deveraux Talagi, lead data scientist, who oversaw a team of undergraduate and graduate student employees from majors such as biochemistry, engineering and public health to design and develop the dashboard. “The Hawaiʻi Behavioral Health Dashboard is not isolated in academia. It is data that can be turned into action.”

“Behavioral health—including substance use, mental health and homelessness—is a significant public health challenge in our state,” said Eddie Mersereau, deputy director of the DOH Behavioral Health Administration. “The data confirms that access to these services is even more crucial during the pandemic.”

The UH Center on Aging PHAC is housed in the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health.

View the Hawaiʻi Behavioral Health Dashboard.

Hawaiʻi CARES offers 24/7 help for crisis support, treatment and recovery as well as COVID-19 isolation and quarantine services. If you or your loved one need support, please call 808-832-3100 on Oʻahu or toll-free 1-800-753-6879.

This work is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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