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HDOH launches C.A.R.E.S. hotline

LIHU‘E — The financial despair related to the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t compare to the emotional hardships people are suffering.

The Hawai’i Department of Health expanded its outreach by creating Hawai’i Coordinated Access Resource Entry System (C.A.R.E.S.), a crisis hotline for the state.

The University of Hawai’i Manoa won the hotline contract with the DOH and the Behavioral Health Administration to create multiple entry points for services such as substance use disorder, mental health and crisis intervention services.

“People who are experiencing a crisis often struggle with more than one behavioral or mental health issue,” Eddie Mersereau, deputy director of the Behavioral Health Administration, said in a press release.

The Continuum of Care is an array of treatment and recovery support services made available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“The newly expanded Hawai‘i C.A.R.E.S. allows us to provide a more comprehensive, tailored service for callers who need help in more than one area,” Mersereau said.

The referral center is a screening process that allows staff to assess the type of care someone calling in might need so they can provide the caller with the proper referral.

“When you call Hawai‘i 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,” Kathryn Boyer, Hawai‘i C.A.R.E.S. program director said. “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.”

For more information on these services, Kaua’i residents can call toll free at 1-800-753-6879 or reach by fax at (808) 453-6994.

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Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com

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