The COMPASS Helpline at NAMI Massachusetts provides information and resources to help people navigate the complex mental health system, and problem solve in difficult circumstances. COMPASS is staffed by people with experience navigating the mental health system for themselves or a loved one. Learn more about what we do!
Sometimes our call and email volumes are high, and we are not able to respond immediately. If you do not reach us right away, please leave us a voicemail with your name, telephone number, a brief summary of why you’re calling, and the best time to call you back at. You can also email us with this information. We do our best to return voicemails and emails within 48 business hours, and we’ll try again if we don’t reach you back the first time!
You can visit our Navigating a Crisis page to find immediate ideas and resources for navigating a crisis that you or someone you support is experiencing. You can also visit our resource section to resources for a wide variety of topics and situations.
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, clergy, law enforcement, legislators and aides, etc.
You can contact COMPASS about:
- finding peer and family support
- accessing mental health treatment
- insurance issues
- housing programs
- help with employment
- public benefits
- 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 call or email COMPASS, we will:
- ask you basic intake questions to get context on 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
When you reach out to COMPASS, you can expect:
- to talk with a real person who’s been there
- empathy, validation, compassion, and support
- resources and next steps to fit their needs
- continued connection to a network of support, through NAMI education and support programs
- confidence that the details of their situation will be kept private
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 is looking for some enthusiastic volunteers to join our Helpline team! Our volunteer projects include:
- Helping to maintain the COMPASS resource collection – this includes checking current resources for accuracy, and researching new resources
- Helping to support COMPASS outreach efforts – this includes helping to update Helpline promotional materials, and identifying and reaching out to contacts
- Helping with surveys and needs assessments – this includes helping to set up surveys questions and analyzing results
These opportunities are virtual, and computer and reliable internet access are essential. We welcome people of all cultures, races, identities, and experiences. Volunteer to support the COMPASS Helpline – fill out our volunteer application!
617-704-6264 or 1-800-370-9085
Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm (excluding holidays)
contact COMPASS directly for the quickest response
COMPASS Helpline Director
617-580-8541 x 203
Contact Jill with questions about how we work, quality issues, etc.
COMPASS Peer & Family Support Navigator
617-580-8541 x 218
COMPASS Justice System & Diversion Navigator
617-580-8541 x 212