NAMI Massachusetts Compass Helpline logo

The Compass Helpline at NAMI Massachusetts provides free information, ideas, resources, and support to help people across the state navigate the complex mental health system and related systems of care. Compass is staffed by people with first-hand experience navigating the mental health system for themselves or a family member.

Contact the Compass Helpline

call us  at 617-704-6264 or 1-800-370-9085
email us  at compass@namimass.org
schedule a call with us  learn more
send up a letter  to Compass Helpline at NAMI Massachusetts; 331 Montvale Avenue, 2nd floor; Woburn, MA 01801

We are available Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm

Learn More About the Compass Helpline
Need immediate resources?

Visit our Navigating a Crisis page to find immediate ideas and resources for navigating a crisis that you or someone you support is experiencing.

Visit our resource section for resources for a wide variety of topics and situations.

Learn More About the Compass Helpline

Compass is available statewide. Learn more about how we operate…

How to Contact Compass...

call us  at 617-704-6264 or 1-800-370-9085
email us  at compass@namimass.org
schedule a call with us  learn more
send up a letter  to Compass Helpline at NAMI Massachusetts; 331 Montvale Avenue, 2nd floor; Woburn, MA 01801

We are available Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm

When You Call Compass

We will…

  • ask you questions to learn more about the situation (all questions are voluntary)
  • help you identify concrete needs
  • offer immediate information, resources, ideas, and next steps when possible
  • research and follow up, when needed

Good to know…

  • we try to answer incoming calls live, as much as possible
  • sometimes our call volumes are high, and we are not able to answer immediately
  • if you do not reach us right away, you can schedule a call with us or leave us a voicemail with your name, telephone number, and the best time to call you back at
  • we do our best to return voicemails within 24 business hours, and we’ll try again if we don’t reach you back the first time
When You Email Compass

We will…

  • ask you questions to learn more about the situation, if needed
  • offer immediate information, resources, ideas, and next steps when possible
  • ask if a phone call is an option instead, if the situation seems complicated

Good to know…

  • we try to respond to emails within 48 business hours
  • if you haven’t received a response from us, it may mean that your email to us or our response to you has gone to the junk folder – you can give us a call to check in
However you reach out to Compass, you can expect...
  • to interact with a real person who’s been there
  • empathy and validation
  • resources and next steps to fit your needs
  • confidence that the information you share with us will be kept private
  • We use Calendly for scheduling Compass calls! Calendaly allows you to schedule a call with us on a day and time that works for you!
  • When can I schedule a call for? We make as many call slots available as we can, based on Compass Navigator availability. You can schedule a call up to 6 days into the future, with at least 12 hours notice.
  • How long can calls be scheduled for? Calls are scheduled for 30 minutes, by default, as most Compass calls last less than 30 minutes. Sometimes calls will last longer than 30 minutes – that’s okay! We know that many people are reaching out about complicated circumstances, and can typically accommodate longer calls.
  • What information should I provide when scheduling? Calendly requires a name, telephone number, and email address to schedule. You can also include information about who you are reaching out about, where that person is (city/town or facility) what the circumstances are, and how you heard about us – this information is optional, but helpful! We encourage you NOT to include information like Social Security numbers or health insurance ID numbers – we do not need this information to help you, and will never ask for it.
  • Can other people join in my call? Yes! You can add other people to your call. When scheduling, make sure to include the first names and telephone numbers of anyone who will join us. You can put this information into the “Is there any information we need to reach you?” field. We will email you with any additional information that will be needed for the call, such as a conference line number.
  • I’ve scheduled a call, what happens next? After you schedule a call through Calendly, you will receive an email reminder. We will call you at the scheduled time – our caller ID will show up as 617-580-8541 (the NAMI Massachusetts business number).
  • What should I do if I need to cancel? If you need to cancel your scheduled call, look for the email reminder – there is a link to cancel right in the email! Can’t find the email? You can email us at compass@namimass.org to let us know you need to cancel
  • I missed a scheduled call, what should I do? If you missed a call from us, you can give us a call back at 617-704-6264. You can also schedule another call.
  • I would like to schedule a call on a day/time that is not available, is this possible? Reach out to us! We will do our best to try to accommodate your schedule. You can email us at compass@namimass.org.

We welcome inquiries from…

  • people dealing with experiences that are typically labeled as mental health symptoms
  • family members, partners, friends, and other supporters
  • people in peer and family support or recovery coach roles
  • mental health clinicians, health care providers, and care managers
  • people working for the Department of Mental Health and other state agencies
  • NAMI affiliate and program leaders
  • other information and referral services
  • police and other first responders
  • business owners and community leaders
  • educators, landlords, attorneys, clergy, and elected officials

Anyone is welcome to call or email us! We can’t answer every question or help with every situation, but we will try to get you to the next best step.

You can contact Compass about…

  • finding peer and family support
  • accessing mental health treatment
  • insurance issues
  • housing programs
  • help with employment
  • public benefits
  • transportation
  • police and the legal system
  • inpatient and discharge rights
  • substance use and addiction
  • supports for children and teens
  • special education and transition to adulthood

Compass cannot offer…

  • direct mental health care we are not mental health clinicians, but we can help you find mental health treatment options
  • provider recommendations we do not maintain lists of therapists or psychiatrists, but we can provide tools and support to help you find a provider
  • legal advice we are not attorneys, but we can provide basic information about your rights and refer to legal assistance in many areas
  • direct housing, employment, transportation, or financial assistance we can help you find resources for these and other needs
  • individual casework or advocacy we cannot meet with you in person or call someone or write letters on your behalf, but we can offer strategies for self advocacy and help you identify opportunities for care management and similar supports
  • resources that are not available or do not exist resources can be limited and people are sometimes left with unmet needs, but we will do our best to help you find alternatives
  • a guarantee that we will always be available Compass is not a crisis line, but we do our best to respond as soon as possible
  • we unable to call or email people who have not asked us to directly
Support for this program is provided in part by:
Contact the Compass Helpline:

Compass Helpline
617-704-6264  or  1-800-370-9085
compass@namimass.org

Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm (excluding holidays)
contact Compass directly for the quickest response

 

Jill Gichuhi
(she/her/hers)
Compass Helpline Director
617-286-7618 or 617-580-8541 x 203
jgichuhi@namimass.org

contact Jill for questions about how Compass works, to request Compass handouts or other resource materials, or for quality issues

 

Andrew
(he/him/his)
Compass Navigator

 

Cassandra
(she/her/hers)
Compass Navigator

 

Jess 
Compass Navigator