Frequently Asked

CALL 988 provides quality emergency mental health care in Central Maryland. We are the local responder for calls to the national 988 helpline.

CALL 988 serves residents in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County and Howard County.

Our services include:
  • A regional call center that provides safe, supportive and confidential emergency counseling.
  • Calls are free and available 24 hours a day.
  • Referrals to longer-term mental health and addiction recovery services.
  • Teams of mental health professionals who can meet you where you are to provide in-person support.

CALL 988 is committed to ensuring everyone in our community has access to the resources they need to care for their emotional health.

Here's what happens when you call the helpline:
  • You'll hear a message telling you that you've reached 988.
  • You will be asked if you want to connect to the Veteran’s Crisis Line or if you prefer Spanish. This is the only prompt you will receive.
  • You may hear a little hold music while we quickly connect you.
  • A specialized counselor at the 988 call center closest to you will answer the phone.
  • Your counselor will listen and provide emotional support.
  • Your counselor can also connect you to community resources and additional support.

Around 80% of callers get the help they need over the phone.

People call 988 for a lot of reasons. You can call anytime you are feeling overwhelmed, like you can’t cope, or if you just need someone to talk to.

Some reasons people call include thoughts of suicide, drinking too much or using drugs, experiencing anxiety or depression, coping with trauma, feelings of loneliness, or grieving for a loved one.

You can call for yourself or for others you are worried about.

CALL 988 is part of a community effort in Central Maryland to reduce law enforcement involvement in mental health emergencies.

The primary goal is to provide support for people in the moments they most need it and in a manner that is comfortable for them. The vast majority of those seeking help from the Lifeline do not require any additional interventions at that moment. Currently, fewer than 2% of Lifeline calls require connection to emergency services like 911.

988 provides emergency mental health care. You can choose to call 988 when you or a loved one are:
  • Having thoughts of suicide
  • Feeling lonely, sad or depressed
  • Having relationship problems
  • Drinking too much or using drugs
  • Feeling anxious or overwhelmed
  • Coping with trauma
  • In need of emergency emotional support

Call 911 if you need EMS, fire and/or police dispatched to your location.

988 and 911 work closely together so call takers will help you get to the right place regardless of which number you call.

Help is available in other languages.
  • For Spanish, call 988 and press 2.
  • For other languages, counselors can patch in Language Line interpreters to help.

988 uses Telecommunications Relay Service. We hope to provide ASL video interpretation services soon.

When you call 988, press 1 to access counselors who are trained in serving veterans and their loved ones.

These counselors can also connect callers to community resources for veterans. Learn more at

You can text or chat 988 for support, but you will be connected to a call center outside of Central Maryland.

CALL 988 hopes to offer these services soon for local residents.

Anyone can call 988. Calls are free and you do not need to have insurance.

If you need support connecting to other mental health or substance use services in the community, CALL 988 can help you find a provider who can work with you. There are options for those with or without insurance.

Anyone can call 988. Calls are free and you do not need any particular identification or documentation

Yes. You can call 988 from anywhere in the United States.

Calls are routed to the nearest local call center based on your phone’s area code.

If you have an out-of-state phone number, you may be routed to a call center outside of the Central Maryland region.

All call centers provide free, confidential, supportive counseling to anyone who calls. But if you prefer, you can ask to be transferred to a call center in your local area.

Maryland has provided a statewide crisis call center network through 211, press one, for a number of years.

This is similar to the nationwide network for 988 and callers will generally be routed to the same local call center.

The state plans to consolidate 211, press one, with 988 in the years to come.

No. The 988 helpline only knows your phone number if you call/text, or your IP address if you use chat.

Beyond that, the helpine will not know who you are or where you are located.

No. CALL 988 will not share your information.

The helpline will only contact 911 if someone’s life is in immediate danger. This is rare. Fewer than 1% of calls involve 911 without a caller’s permission.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and the Here2Help Hotline (410-433-5175) are still working — and can also be reached by calling 988.