Getting Help in an Emergency

When your child or teen is experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis, it is frightening for everyone in your family.

What is an Emergency?

An emergency is defined as situation in which there is imminent risk of harm to self or others. 

When do I call 911?

MCF Family Peer Support Specialists are not equipped to act as first responders in emergencies. In cases where there is the threat of imminent risk of serious harm, you should contact 911 immediately. 

When calling 911:

  • Explain to the dispatcher that your loved one is having a behavioral health crisis and explain their behavioral health history and/or diagnosis. 
  • In the case where an overdose is suspected, be prepared to provide as much of the following as you can: what substance (or drug) the person is using, when they last used, the address where the person is located and if you administered Naloxone.
  • Please stay close and monitor them until emergency help arrives. Be aware you and your young person have rights and protections offered by the Good Samaritan Law.*
  • Identify yourself and your relationship to the person experiencing the behavioral health emergency to the dispatcher, and to the responding officers.
  • Many communities have crisis intervention team (CIT) programs that train police officers to handle and respond safely to psychiatric and substance use related crisis calls. You should ask if a CIT officer is available. 
  • Be aware that your loved one may be placed in handcuffs and transported in the back of a police car. This can be extremely upsetting to witness, but understand that this is for everyone’s safety. 
*Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law protects people assisting in an emergency overdose situation from arrest, as well as prosecution, for certain crimes. Visit to learn more. 
What is the Maryland Crisis Hotline? 
The Maryland Crisis Hotline (Call 211, press 1) is available 24 hours/7 days a week to provide support, guidance and assistance to those experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis and to other concerned parties, such as family or friends.  In addition, callers can get information on how to access substance use disorder services, as well as information about naloxone, recovery support and family services as appropriate/available in the individual’s jurisdiction.

When should I call Mobile Crisis?
Your local mobile crisis provider may be contacted as a resource during a mental health or substance use crisis in situations where harm is not immediate. The goal of mobile crisis is to stabilize the crisis, prevent an inpatient hospitalization, and link your young person and family to services. Upon speaking with you, the mobile crisis provider could determine that calling 911 or making a trip to the emergency room is more appropriate. Most jurisdictions do not have mobile crisis services available 24/7; some counties do not have mobile crisis available at all. In these circumstances, you will need to go to the emergency room or call 911. 

Free Resources & Information

There is Hope App 
(Maryland; Download to your phone or tablet) 
Free app provides fast and easy access to crisis intervention and suicide prevention support, including an immediate connection to crisis counselors. Download the app from the  Apple App Store and  Android Google Play Store. 
Online Chat for Youth (Maryland) Online crisis chat services are provided by trained crisis counselors Monday through Friday, 4:00-9:00 pm by the Maryland Crisis Hotline Network. 
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 

Phone or online chat available with trained crisis counselors to anyone who is depressed, despairing, going through a hard time, or just needs to talk, including people who are thinking about suicide. 
Crisis Text Line   24/7 support for anyone in crisis. Text HELLO to 741741 to connect anonymously with a trained Crisis Counselor.
Kognito Research-proven training simulations to prepare you to recognize when someone is exhibiting signs of psychological distress or underlying trauma.
Maryland Overdose Response Program Provides training in overdose response to individuals and families. Receive free training and medication for emergency use in an overdose situation or visit your local pharmace. 
Family of Heroes
Award-winning interactive role-play simulation, shows you how to be a hero to your returning Veteran simply by gaining a better understanding of the common challenges they face when adjusting to post-deployment life.