We at the William James College INTERFACE Referral Service are keenly aware of the shortage of mental health providers of color and how racial inequities exist in medical and mental health care. The College’s Black Mental Health Academy, Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health, and other programs and academic offerings are playing a critical role in reversing this trend. We invite you to read a statement from our Black Mental Health Graduate Academy Scholars, and to stand with us as allies to drive change and address systemic racism.

When & Where to Seek Help

The William James INTERFACE Referral Service is a free, confidential mental health referral service for individuals across the lifespan and is not designed to respond to urgent or crisis situations where someone’s well-being might be at immediate and serious risk.  If you require a crisis response to meet immediate safety needs, we will give you the contact information for the crisis responder that can best assist you.  We will still be available to you after the crisis has been stabilized to work with you to find outpatient mental health services for yourself, child or family.  For more information about organizations that can respond in a crisis, or how to determine if that is the service you need, please read the information below.

Sources of help in urgent/crisis situations:

  • Mental Health Emergencies:

    • If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, you can call 911 or go directly to your local emergency room

    • You can also call your local Emergency Service Program that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide community-based behavioral health crisis assessment, intervention, and stabilization services.  There are 21 ESPs, covering every city and town across the Commonwealth. To find your local ESP, call 877-382-1609 or view the Emergency Services Program (ESP) Directory View our guide to learn more about Accessing Psychiatric Emergency Services.

  • Child Abuse: Child At-Risk Hotline, 1-800-792-5200

    The trained staff at this statewide emergency response system directed by Judge Baker Children's Center, answers emergency calls, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Hotline works under the auspices of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) and in situations where children are at imminent risk, an emergency response is initiated, with DCF field staff launching the investigations.

  • Elder Abuse: Elder Abuse Hotline, 1-800-922-2275

    Elder abuse reports may be made to the statewide Elder Abuse Hotline (1-800-922-2275), which operates on a seven days a week, 24 hours a day basis. Anyone can make an elder abuse report. However, the law requires certain professionals to report suspected incidents of abuse. Mandated reporters who fail to make elder abuse reports when appropriate are subject to a fine up to $1,000. In addition, the law provides mandated reporters with immunity from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise could result from making a report, provided the reporter did not commit the abuse. Persons who are not mandated reporters have the same immunity, as long as they make a report in good faith.

  • Abuse of a Disabled Person: Disabled Persons Protection Commission Abuse Reporting Hotline 1-800-426-9009

    An independent state agency whose purpose is to investigate and remediate cases of abuse of the Commonwealths most vulnerable citizens. The Disabled Persons Protection Commission was created by law in 1987. They run a hotline and make referrals, maintain data, do investigations, and collaborate with other agencies to protect adults with disabilities. The Awareness & Action training is intended for persons with disabilities, support staff, family members, social service agencies working with people with disabilities, health care professionals, educators and other professionals. 

  • Substance Abuse: The Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline, 1-800-327-5050

    The Helpline is a Massachusetts resource providing free and anonymous information and referral for alcohol and other drug use problems and related concerns. The Helpline is committed to linking consumers with comprehensive, accurate, and current information about treatment and prevention services throughout Massachusetts.

  • Domestic Violence: SafeLink, 1-877-785-2020

    SafeLink is a resource for anyone affected by domestic or dating violence. Are you worried about someone or have questions about abuse? Do you recognize warning signs of an unhealthy relationship? Do you need help or support? Call us. Each call is answered by a trained advocate who provides non-judgmental support, assistance with safety planning, and information on appropriate resources. SafeLink's state-of-the-art technology allows the advocate answering your call to keep you on the line while you are being connected to a resource in your area, getting you help in just a single call. It is also OK to call SafeLink if you need to talk about your situation or someone else's; you do not need to be looking for services or a shelter space.

  • Healthcare: Health Helpline, 1-800-272-4232

    Health Care For All's Helpline is free and available to everyone to answer your questions about healthcare in Massachusetts. We can help you with everything from general insurance questions to specific information you need about a personal health issue. Other issues you might have include questions on co-payments, health insurance rules, directions, whether you’re eligible for a program, or more. You can contact us via phone or online. Health Care For All is dedicated to making quality, affordable health care accessible to everyone, regardless of income, social or economic status. We seek to empower Massachusetts consumers to know more about our health care system and to become involved in changing it.

Advice for less urgent mental health situations:

Individuals may develop mental health concerns or behave in a problematic way at some point along in their lifetime. Sometimes, the problematic behavior is brief, or only occurs every now and then. Other times, the behavior may last for weeks, or may occur frequently.

When and Where to Seek Help

The individual’s situation When to get help Where to get help
  • Mild to moderate change in behavior
  • You are worried but not alarmed
Soon (a routine assessment)
  • Pediatrician/Primary Care Doctor
  • Mental health professional
  • School
  • Family/Friend
  • Community agency
  • Major change in behavior
  • Individual seems unable to function without help
  • You feel unable to cope or help
48-72 hours (urgent)
  • Pediatrician/Primary Care Doctor
  • Mental health professional
  • Emergency Department
  • School