Kauai News

Crisis Support Hotline Expanded to Include Mental Health, Substance Use Services

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The Department of Health, in partnership with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, has expanded its hotline for crisis support to include access to mental health resources and substance use treatment services.

Callers in need of these services can now call Hawai‘i CARES — Coordinated Access Resource Entry System —for support in any of these areas 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“People who are experiencing a crisis often struggle with more than one behavioral or mental health issue,” said Eddie Mersereau, deputy director of the Behavioral Health Administration. “The newly expanded Hawai‘i CARES allows us to provide a more comprehensive, tailored service for callers who need help in more than one area.”


The initiative is designed to provide a “one-stop” hotline for the public, combining services provided by the Crisis Line of Hawai‘i, which offers crisis support to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis— and Hawai‘i CARES – 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.

A campaign to promote the new Hawai‘i CARES services will launch this week through mid-November, through the Hawai‘i Association of Broadcasters Public Education Program.

“When you call Hawai‘i CARES, 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, Hawai‘i CARES 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.”


To access services through Hawai‘i CARES, call 800-753-6879—the same number previously used by Crisis Line of Hawai‘i. Individuals in crisis can also text ALOHA to 741741. Learn more about Hawai‘i CARES at http://manoa.hawaii.edu/cares/ and view the public service announcements here.

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