Get The Help You Need
Emergency Resources For Mental Health & Safety
A mandatory prerequisite for growth and self-improvement is basic safety and security. If you are fundamentally not safe with the people around you, if you are not safe within yourself (thinking of harming yourself or are actively injuring yourself through addiction), if your children are not safe, or you do not have access to basic needs such as food and shelter, this is not the time to pursue personal growth work or try improving a relationship. It’s time to focus on your foundation of safety, and stabilize yourself and your life. The emergency resources shared on this page are the places to turn for help if you’re in a crisis situation and need to get back on solid ground.
If you or your loved one are experiencing a life-threatening mental health emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room for assistance. A “life-threatening emergency” is any situation where you are afraid for the safety of yourself or others. Thoughts of self-harm or suicide, suicidal behaviors, homicidal thoughts or intentions to harm others, psychotic symptoms, or self-harming behaviors are all emergencies that require immediate medical attention.
You do not have to know “for sure” before asking for help. It is very easy to minimize symptoms and postpone life-saving treatment. If you are concerned enough to be thinking about getting help, get help.
Hospitals typically have mental health crisis workers available to assess you. If needed, they may admit you to stabilize you and either begin or adjust medications to manage your symptoms effectively. They can also connect you to ongoing intensive outpatient therapy through a community mental health center for continued support.
If you are afraid for the safety of your loved one and they refuse to go to the emergency room for evaluation, you can call 9-1-1 for help. Be sure to inform the dispatcher that this is a mental health crisis and request that emergency mental health responders be dispatched if available. They will be able to do a “welfare check” on your loved one, will assess for immediate safety concerns, and will bring them to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment if warranted.
If you feel like you or your loved one is in immediate danger of suicide, call 9-1-1. If you or your loved one has been struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm but is not at immediate risk (or if you would like to talk to someone who can help you assess the current level of risk), you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 for immediate, live support from a counselor trained to help you.
Suicide prevention counselors are also available to chat with you through their website: suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Mental Health Crisis Support
If you or a loved one is having an emotional, family, or substance abuse-related crisis that does not rise to the level of requiring emergency evaluation, you can contact a mental health crisis team for assistance.
Many community mental health centers have 24/7 crisis staff available. To find one in your area, do an online search for “community mental health center in [name of your town].” If they have a crisis team, that phone number should be available on their website. Or, you can call the main intake phone number for assistance. In addition to providing crisis mental health services and emergency crisis counseling in the moment, your local community mental health center will also be able to help connect you to local resources for ongoing support and treatment.
Another great resource (whether or not you live in Colorado) is Colorado Crisis Services. They have a 24-hour hotline staffed by mental health professionals, walk-in crisis centers (statewide), and even respite centers where people can stay for a day or two as needed. They can also connect you to different kinds of immediate support, depending on your current need. Their phone number is 844-493-TALK (8255), or find them online at coloradocrisisservices.org.
A wonderful resource for supportive services in your area is the United Way 2-1-1 Hotline. It is available in 80% of communities in the US and can provide support in both English and Spanish. If you dial 211 from any phone, you will be connected to a United Way community specialist who can connect you with essential services in your area, including emergency shelter, housing and utility expenses, healthcare expenses, food banks, childcare, substance abuse treatment, low-cost mental health treatment, and other supports available to you.
Another large charitable organization that provides many types of supportive services, including access to community resources, housing, legal support, food and nutrition, and medical and mental health services, is Catholic Charities. Here is the link to the “find help” page of their website.
If you know or suspect you are in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship, getting help is important.
Outside of Denver, call 800−799−SAFE(7233), or go to: www.thehotline.org, which provides a 24-hour hotline, crisis intervention, and referrals to local services and shelters for victims of partner or spousal abuse. English and Spanish-speaking advocates are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The hotline is staffed by trained volunteers who are ready to connect people with emergency help in their own communities, including emergency services and shelters.
The staff can also provide information and referrals for various non-emergency services, including counseling for adults and children and assistance in reporting abuse. They have an extensive database of domestic violence treatment providers in all US states and territories. Many staff members speak languages besides English, and they have 24-hour access to translators for approximately 150 languages. For the hearing impaired, there is a TDD number. This is a great resource for anyone — man, woman, or child — who is experiencing or has experienced domestic violence or abuse or who suspects that someone they know is being abused.
Parenting is hard work, and it can be challenging to know how to handle certain situations. If you struggle with parenting and feel helpless or at risk of becoming out of control with your children, please know that there is compassionate and non-judgmental support for you.
You can call 1-855-4APARENT (1-855-427-2736) or go to www.nationalparenthelpline.org to speak immediately with a trained advocate who can support you emotionally and offer guidance for various challenging parenting situations.
Additionally, they also maintain a list of state, local, and national resources that provide wraparound support for you and your children. More information for you here: https://www.nationalparenthelpline.org/find-support
For Minors Seeking Mental Health Services
If you are a minor (under the age of 18) there are many local and national mental health resources available to you. In the state of Colorado, the age of consent for mental health services is twelve years old, which means that, if you are 12 or older, you can sign your own paperwork and initiate your own treatment without involving your parents, unless you want to.
The best way to get help is to connect with your school’s social worker or guidance counselor. You can let your teacher or someone in your school’s front office know that you’d like to speak with the counselor, and they will help get you connected.
You can let your school counselor know what’s going on and how you’re feeling, and they can help you access various school-based services. Many schools offer school-based therapy programs where you can meet with your school’s psychologist for mental health treatment during school hours. If you are over the age of consent in your state, these sessions will be confidential, and nobody will know unless you choose to tell them.
Your school’s social worker can also help you and even your parents get plugged into community resources, including food banks, financial assistance, substance use treatment, and housing support. They can also help you connect with in-home family therapy services, where a therapist will come to your home and work with your whole family to help you solve problems together, establish healthy routines, and improve your communication with each other.
Additionally, there are a variety of hotlines and chatlines just for teens to get extra emotional support. Teen Line (https://www.teenline.org/) is a free chat line staffed by trained teen volunteers who you can talk with (by phone or text) about a variety of situations.
Additional teen and child crisis hotlines (in over 170 languages) are available here: https://www.stopitnow.org/ohc-content/crisis-hotlines-for-youth
Child Abuse or Neglect
If you know or suspect that a child is being physically or sexually abused or neglected:
Call 800-4-A-CHILD (422.4453) or 800.2.A.CHILD (222.4453, TDD for hearing impaired) www.childhelp.org. This organization provides multilingual crisis intervention and professional counseling on child abuse. It also provides referrals to local social service groups offering counseling on child abuse and operates 24 hours, seven days a week.
If you are a minor and need help call: National Youth Crisis Hotline: 800-442-HOPE (4673). This organization provides counseling and referrals to local drug treatment centers, shelters, and counseling services. It also responds to youth dealing with pregnancy, molestation, suicide, and child abuse and operates 24 hours, seven days a week.
If you are caring for a child who is struggling with the effects of past trauma, you can find support here: National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Missing Children Network: 800-235-3535
Thursday’s Child’s National Youth Advocacy Hotline at 1-(800)-USA-KIDS
National Hotline for Missing and Exploited Children: 800-843-5678. This organization operates a hotline for reporting missing children and sightings of missing children and offers assistance to law enforcement agents. Its hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. — 11 p.m. Eastern Time.
National Runaway Switchboard: 800-621-4000: Provides crisis intervention and travel assistance to runaways, information and local referrals to adolescents and families, and gives referrals to shelters nationwide. Also relays messages to, or sets up conference calls with, parents at the request of the child. Operates 24 hours, seven days a week.
Child Find of America Hotline: 800-I-AM-LOST (426.5678): Looks for missing and abducted children. Operators are available 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. The number accepts voicemails on evenings and weekends with calls returned.
Confidential Runaway Hotline: 800-231-6946
Parent Abduction Hotline: 800-292-9688: Provides crisis mediation in parental abduction. Provides prevention information and referrals to local agencies. Operators are available 9 a.m. — 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Voicemail on evenings and weekends with calls returned.
If you have been sexually assaulted: Call 800-656-4673 or go to: www.rainn.org
Drug and Alcohol Addiction
If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, here is a list of places where you can find help:
National Drug Information Treatment and Referral Hotline: 800-662-HELP (4357) Offers information, support, treatment options, and referrals to local rehab centers for any drug or alcohol problem. Operates 24 hours, seven days a week.
National Cocaine Hotline: 800-COCAINE (262-2463) Offers information, crisis intervention, and referrals to local rehab centers for all types of drug dependency. Operates 24 hours, seven days a week.
- Al-ateen: 800-352-9996
- Alcohol Abuse and Crisis Intervention: 800-234-0246
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline and Treatment: 800-234-0420
- Alcohol Hotline Support & Information: 800-331-2900
Denver Rent and Utility Help: The City of Denver offers temporary rental and utility assistance for Denver residents who are facing a housing crisis or hardship to help prevent eviction or displacement. For more information, visit their website here: Denver Rent & Utility Help.
Free or Extremely Low-Cost Mental Health Services
Some nonprofit organizations like community mental health centers — you almost certainly have one in your town — offer extremely low cost, even free mental health services. They often take Medicaid and Medicare and have caseworkers who can help you apply for grants and benefits.
Another benefit of community mental health centers is that they offer a higher level of care than you can find in a private practice setting. You can often get psychiatric support (i.e., medication management), intensive outpatient services, crisis support, groups, vocational training and support, drug and alcohol treatment, and access to a broad network of social service programs, including supplemental nutrition programs, financial assistance, subsidized housing programs, and access to community resources such as food pantries.
Just Google “Community Mental Health Center in [name of your town]” to get information about the one closest to you. They will likely have an intake process: Call the main number, and the person who answers will be able to guide you through the next steps.
Finding Help Internationally
Because we work with people online all over the world, we do have people (perhaps you?) who reach out to us with a sincere interest and need for mental health services, but for whom working with Growing Self is not appropriate — either financially, or due to the level of care that you need and deserve.
We understand that it can be challenging to connect to high-quality mental health services in some countries, but they do exist.
One way to find them is to contact your local hospital or community medical clinic. They may have more information about nonprofit organizations in your area that can help you. You may also consider contacting any large, reputable charitable organizations who are serving your community. UNICEF, Catholic Charities, and Doctors Without Borders often have mental health practitioners on their teams who may be able to help you. (Or get you pointed in the right direction.)
No matter what your circumstances, your life is precious and important, and there are people and organizations waiting to help you. Even if you never become a client of Growing Self, we care about you and want to help you get connected to the services you need. We wish you all the best on your journey towards health and stability for yourself and your family — you deserve it.
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.