Navigating Behavioral Health Care

BayCare Behavioral Health is the largest full-service, community-based health care system in the Tampa Bay area. We offer a variety of services in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco and Hernando counties. We provide a full range of comprehensive services for mental health and addiction issues tailored to meet the needs of children, adults and families.

When to Ask for Help

BayCare wants you to be well, and wellness is more than just your physical health. It’s also about being “mentally well.”

When you feel mentally well, it means you can understand how things or situations affect your ability to think or focus. You understand how you feel (your emotional state) and how you act (your behavior).

If you notice you or a loved one is having a hard time handling emotions, struggling to think or focus clearly, or experiencing a change in behavior or physical well-being, it may be time to reach out for additional help. Learn more about some early warning signs and symptoms.

Getting Help

Asking for help is hard. Knowing where to begin can be even harder. Everyone’s starting point is different. Let us help you find the right place to start.

If you or a loved one are thinking about harming yourself or others, this is a time for immediate help. Call 911.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24/7 by calling (800) 273-8255.

If you or your loved are not in immediate danger, there are multiple places you can reach out to for help.

Talk to your doctor.

Mental and physical health are closely connected. Just as you talk to your doctor about physical symptoms you’re experiencing, it’s important to let your doctor know about how you’ve been feeling or any major changes that may be happening in your life. Based on this discussion, you and the doctor can decide on the next step and the best mental health resource available. If you are a parent or guardian and suspect your child needs help, talk to the child’s pediatrician. Don’t have a primary care doctor or pediatrician? Let us refer you to one.

Talk to a mental health professional.

Whether or not you have spoken to a primary care doctor, there are a variety of mental health professionals that can provide support. Each mental health professional provides a different level of treatment. Depending on you or your loved ones needs, there are several avenues you can go down to find these professionals.

  • Ask your primary care doctor or pediatrician for a referral.
  • Are you or your loved one employed?
    • If you or your loved one are employed, some companies or employers offer additional benefits through programs such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or Employee Assistance Services (EAS). These programs often provide a variety of resources and may include free visits with mental health professionals. Contact your Human Resources Department to learn more about your company's offerings.
  • Are you or your loved one a college student?
    • Some colleges and universities offer their students a host of benefits and support through a Student Assistance Program (SAP) that connects students to mental health professionals. Information on these programs can typically be found on the college or university’s student web portal or find out more related to SAP services through a student services department or program.
  • Connect with Us
    • At BayCare, we can help you verify your behavioral health care benefits and connect you to a mental health professional in your area. Call our registration center Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm at (877) 850-9613.

How to Determine Behavioral Health Care Benefits

If you have any type of health care insurance, contact your insurance carrier at the phone number listed on your insurance card.

If you do not have health care insurance, 211 Tampa Bay Cares is a local resource connecting people to health and human services information. Visit for more information.

National Resources

National organizations can also help provide local resources.