Pinellas County recently launched a new service to make it easier for residents to access behavioral health services. The program, called Care About Me, provides a confidential access line for residents of all ages needing help with mental health, substance use, and addiction services.

“The Pinellas County Commission is proud to support this much-needed service that will help so many individuals and families in our community who are searching for the right behavioral health care,” said Pinellas County Commission Chair Kathleen Peters. “Today represents the culmination of years of research, community partnerships, and work with providers to ensure we can improve our community’s overall wellbeing. We want our residents who are struggling to know they are not alone and that help is available through Care About Me.”

Care About Me is not a crisis line. Individuals experiencing a mental health emergency should call 911. Those experiencing suicidal thoughts should call the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline. Care About Me helps residents or their family members in non-crisis situations by connecting them with experienced behavioral health specialists who can assess their needs and schedule appointments with local providers.

The County partnered with national technology company Unite Us to provide the infrastructure for connecting residents to verified behavioral health services within the state’s coordinated care network, Unite Florida.

Using the secured platform, Care About Me specialists can send electronic referrals, track care progress, and ensure residents receive timely assistance and follow-up. Specialists are also trained to connect callers with supportive services such as counseling, support groups, educational resources, and referrals to specialized treatment centers and providers.

Individuals wishing to access this service may call 1-888-431-1998 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturdays and legal holidays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“In 2019, we underwent an intensive project to evaluate the existing behavioral health system to identify ways to provide more patient-centric services,” said Pinellas County Human Services Director Karen Yatchum. “We found a need for a coordinated access model to increase transparency in how clients, families, caregivers, and professionals could access the right services. We are excited for Care About Me to meet this need and truly make a difference in the lives of our residents.”

“At Unite Us, we are proud to support Pinellas County in its mission to streamline access to mental health and addiction treatment services,” said Megan Ducoff, Senior Vice President of Operations at Unite Us. “Leveraging our technology, verified provider network, and care coordination services, the partnership exemplifies the transformative impact of teamwork in fostering a healthier, more resilient community.”

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