The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill men’s basketball team is in the limelight right now as the team attempts to win its eighth National Championship.

And the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and Trualta are using the team’s popularity to get the word out about a program that connects untrained caregivers in North Carolina with resources and support services they might not otherwise hear about.

The new publicity campaign – which will be largely conducted on the giant social media platform Instagram – is directed at  those people in North Carolina who are currently caring for “family and friends who require assistance with physical care, emotional support or help around the house.”

Those caregivers, who often try to go it alone, can access free, skills-based learning through a “North Carolina Caregiver Portal.”  The campaign promotes the portal which directs people to the free resources that are available.  Those in need of the services can visit for more information.

So far, in the first week of the program, the team has helped NCDHHS reach 5 percent more caregivers.

The social media campaign – called “Point to the Passer” is in honor of Linda “Mama” Woods, the former executive assistant to Tar Heel head coaches Dean Smith and Bill Guthridge.  One of the many innovations in college basketball that Smith’s teams are credited with popularizing is this: After making a basket, the scorer points to the player who made the pass that made that shot possible.  It’s a way of acknowledging those who contributed to the success – though who might otherwise have gone largely unnoticed.

According to a Thursday, March 24 press release from the NCDHHS, “Approximately 1 in 4 adults in North Carolina provide regular care or support to an older adult with a long-term illness or disability, meaning there are between 1.4 and 1.7 million unpaid family caregivers in the state. The Caregiver Portal is the only clinically validated eLearning program for family caregivers and is available for free to all North Carolinians. It includes self-paced, skills-based modules on topics ranging from dementia and daily care tasks to self-care for caregivers. The portal also connects caregivers to state and regional resources such as caregiver support programs, community-based services and support groups.”

Joyce Massey-Smith, the director of the Division of Aging and Adult Services for NCDHHS, said the resource can be very valuable to those who otherwise might not know where to turn.

“Often, family and friends enter the caregiver role with little to no warning, or training,” she said. “Through the Caregiver Portal they are able to quickly access valuable content at no-cost, helping them to better support their loved one and themselves.”