211 Tampa Bay — Poor Quality of Referrals
I called 211 8 days ago. The counselor I spoke with was very friendly, comforting and upbeat and seemed helpful. I told him about my problems, and he had several referrals to places to go to for help...he gave me phone numbers, organization names to contact. These included places to call for psychiatric help, counseling, and medical assistance. During the call I confessed to having suicidal thoughts and detailed my health crisis. The counselor was very sympathetic, and I hung up feeling encouraged. The problem came when I contacted those referrals. "I don't know why they told you to call us." and "We don't do that here" were common responses. I came off the call in a positive, hopeful mood. A few hours later, having exhausted the list, I was even more discouraged than when I called. I suspect that this 'referral service' is basically having someone google stuff for you, and that no one is actually tasked with vetting these referrals in any way. Essentially, before you dial 211. you're probably going to get just as far googling for yourself.