COMPASS is the information and referral helpline at NAMI Massachusetts. We provide resources and support to help people navigate the complex mental health system and problem solve in difficult circumstances.

The COMPASS helpline is manned by people with experience navigating the mental health system for themselves or a loved one, including volunteer and staff Navigators. Our trained Navigators are available to answer a wide range of questions and refer to community resources.

The COMPASS helpline is available Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm. Call us at 617-704-6264 or 1-800-370-9085, or email us at Please note that we are unable to make in-person appointments at this time.

We welcome inquiries from

  • people diagnosed with mental health conditions
  • family members, friends, and other supporters
  • clinicians, case managers, and health care providers
  • NAMI affiliate and program leaders
  • other information & referral services
  • educators, law enforcement, legislators and aides, etc.
  • anyone!

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
  • discharge rights
  • substance use
  • services and supports for children and teens
  • special education and transition
  • NAMI programs
  • and more!

When you contact COMPASS, you’ll get:

  • to talk with a real person who’s been there
  • empathy, validation, compassion, and support
  • resources and next steps to fit your needs
  • continued connection to a network of support, through NAMI education and support programs
  • confidence that the details of your situation will be kept private


We will:

  • ask you basic intake questions to get context on the situation (all questions are voluntary)
  • help you identify concrete needs
  • ask what you’ve already tried
  • brainstorm with the COMPASS team, if needed
  • offer you immediate information, resources, ideas, and concrete next steps, when possible
  • offer to follow up by phone, email, or postal mail
  • research and follow up as needed

COMPASS cannot offer:

  • direct mental health care – we are not mental health clinicians, but we can help you find mental health care
  • 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 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 are limited and many people are 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

COMPASS overview (opens in a new window)

COMPASS 101 webinar slides (opens in a new window)
presented June 12, 2019

Volunteering for the COMPASS Helpline

Our Volunteer Navigators are an essential part of the COMPASS team! Navigators help answer incoming calls and emails, use the COMPASS database to log case information and locate resources, and research new resources and maintain the resource records in the database.

Learn more about volunteering for the COMPASS Helpline.

Support for this project provided in part by:
Contact the COMPASS Helpline:

COMPASS Helpline
617-704-6264 / 1-800-370-9085

Jill Gichuhi
COMPASS Helpline Director
617-580-8541 x 203

Neil Farbstein
COMPASS Peer & Family Support Navigator
617-580-8541 x 218

Lyndsay Thompson
COMPASS Justice System & Diversion Navigator
617-580-8541 x 212


COMPASS Navigator Tools & Resources Page (login required)