NAMI HelpLine

Have a question? Someone else may have already asked it. Check out our list of frequently asked questions.

1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or

The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET.

HelpLine staff and volunteers are prepared to answer your questions about mental health issues including:

  • Symptoms of mental
  • Treatment options
  • Local support groups and services
  • Education programs
  • Helping family members get treatment
  • Programs to help find jobs
  • Legal issues (the NAMI Legal Resource Service can connect individuals with attorneys in their area but does not have the resources to provide individual representation)

We are unable to provide counseling or therapy, cannot provide specific recommendations for things like treatment or do individual casework, legal representations or other individual advocacy. In the event of a crisis call, we will transfer callers in crisis or suicidal situations to a national crisis line to provide.

What To Do In An Emergency or Crisis

No one wants to experience a crisis, but they do happen. Fortunately, there are people and organizations willing and able to help. Use these resources if you or someone you know is experiencing a crisis. It’s important to identify the correct options and seek help quickly in a crisis situation.   

In An Emergency

If you or a loved one is in immediate danger calling 911 and talking with police may be necessary. It is important to notify the operator that it is a psychiatric emergency and ask for an officer trained in crisis intervention or trained to assist people experiencing a psychiatric emergency.

In A Crisis

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-273-TALK (8255)

If you or someone you know is in crisis—whether they are considering suicide or not—please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects you with a crisis center in the Lifeline network closest to your location. Your call will be answered by a trained crisis worker who will listen empathetically and without judgment. The crisis worker will work to ensure that you feel safe and help identify options and information about mental health services in your area. Your call is confidential and free.

Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741

Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.

National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 800-799-SAFE (7233)

Trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to provide confidential support to anyone experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information. Help is available in Spanish and other languages.

National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 800-656-HOPE (4673)

Connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area that offers access to a range of free services. Crisis chat support is available at Online Hotline. Free help, 24/7.

Preparing For A Possible Crisis

Taking steps to prepare for the possibility of a crisis can help you act quickly, ease your mind and lessen the impact if a crisis situation does occur. Understanding the differences between mental health crisis services and how to access them are a vital step towards being prepared. Your local NAMI can help you locate these services in your community.

A  crisis plan is a document that contains important information and outlines how to respond to a crisis situation. Many healthcare providers require patients to create a crisis plan that include:

  • phone numbers of mental health professions, family members and friends
  • a list of current prescription medications, doses and diagnosis
  • any history of suicide attempts, psychosis or drug use history
  • triggers and coping mechanism that have helped in the past

About the NAMI HelpLine

The NAMI HelpLine is a free service that provides information, referrals and support to people living with a mental health condition, family members and caregivers, mental health providers and the public.

A well-trained and knowledgeable team of volunteers, interns and HelpLine staff will respond to your call or message. Many staff members and volunteers live with a mental health condition or provide care and support to a family member or friend. The HelpLine also has volunteer attorneys and legal interns who provide legal expertise or a referral to an attorney in your community.

How can I volunteer?

The NAMI HelpLine is located at NAMI's office in Arlington, Va. Volunteer and internship opportunities are posted online. Some NAMI State Organizations and NAMI Affiliates also operate their own HelpLine. 

How can I start a HelpLine at my NAMI Affiliate?

The NAMI HelpLine provides resources for NAMI Leaders to help with the start-up and operation of a NAMI State Organization or Affiliate HelpLine. Leaders can also contact the NAMI HelpLine manager for information and support.