Emergency Services

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center & Hotline

6700 Freetown Road
Columbia, MD 21044 
24 Hour Hotline:  410-531-6677 or dial 2-1-1

Provides telephone and free walk-in counseling by trained staff, emergency shelter for homeless, 24-hour suicide hotline, Mobile Crisis Team 7 days/week (9 a.m. to 11 p.m.), and a Runaway Teen Program that provides crisis intervention for runaway youth and their families.  Immediate access is available to Language Line for telephone translation into most languages.

Crisis Textline

Text HOME to 741741.
It’s free and 24/7.

There is Hope App

Grassroots Suicide Prevention App
Download the free app in both Apple and Google Play stores.

Help 4 MD Youth
Monday - Friday, 4:00-9:00 PM

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Mobile Crisis Team


The Howard County Mobile Crisis Team (MCT) is available free of charge to any Howard County resident or individual present in Howard County at the time of a mental health crisis by calling 410-531-6677.  MCT is a partnership with the Howard County Health Department, Howard County Police Department and Grassroots.  During hours of operation, MCT staff are able to respond to psychiatric crisis identified by the Police.  Two mental health professionals go to where the individual is located and explore suitable support to de-escalate the crisis and help the person in trouble.  If there is an issue of safety, the team is able to gain police assistance to have the person transported to the emergency room at Howard County General Hospital for a thorough psychiatric evaluation.  The Mobile Crisis Team is available by calling 410-531-6677 or by calling the police at 911 and requesting the Mobile Crisis Team.  MCT will refer the individual and family members to available community resources and follow-up to assure linkage.
MCT Hours of Operation
9:00 AM - 11:00 PM  Monday-Sunday (7 days a week)

Crisis Beds

Crisis beds provide 24/7 intensive mental health and support services that are designed to provide clinical support to an individual in a psychiatric crisis.  Crisis beds can be used as an alternative to in-patient hospitalization, when appropriate, or as a step-down from an in-patient psychiatric unit when the individual needs continued clinical support post-discharge.

Anyone who meets the criteria listed below is eligible for a Crisis Bed:

1. Is over 18 years of age,

2. Has a diagnosis of a serious mental illness,

3. Due to acute symptomatology related to the individual’s psychiatric condition, has impaired ability to function within the individual’s community living situation and is in need of a crisis bed to avoid inpatient psychiatric admission or to shorten the length of inpatient stay,

4. For clinical reasons, if it is felt that the individual needs a temporary separation from the current living situation,

5. Has agreed to be referred to a crisis bed,

6. Expects to be able to comply with treatment recommendations, with staff support, and

7. Is able to care for physical needs and basic personal hygiene, with staff support.

To access Crisis Beds contact Way Station at:
(410) 418-4048 phone
(410) 418-4019 fax


(Formerly the Domestic Violence Center)
9770 Patuxent Woods Drive, Suite 300
Columbia, MD 21046
410-997-2272 – 24 hour Helpline
 Phone/ 410-997-1397 Fax
Hopeworks provides comprehensive services to survivors of sexual and domestic violence and their families.  Services include: emergency shelter, transitional housing, crisis, short and long term counseling, legal assistance with civil orders of protection and an abuser intervention program.  Community education, awareness and prevention programming is also available.

Sheppard Pratt Health System

6501 N. Charles Street
Towson, MD 21204
The Crisis Walk-in Clinic will evaluate individuals of all ages in need of crisis assessment and triage.  This service is designed for individuals who require direct admissions to inpatient and day hospital levels of care and who might otherwise be referred to an Emergency Department at a local hospital or who require current psychiatric evaluation in order to conduct an admission pre-authorization with third party payors


Grassroots Crisis Hotline: 410-531-6677: Provides 24/7 counseling services

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 410-749-9424: Provides counseling for suicide prevention

Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-422-0009: Crisis intervention, support and referrals

Runaway Hotline: 1-800-621-4000

For All Seasons, Inc. Hotline: 1-800-310-7273.  Counseling, advocacy, and education to victims of rape, sexual assault and abuse.

Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence1-800-927-4673.  Provides direct services for victims of family violence including a 24-hour hotline, crisis intervention, counseling, support group, emergency shelter, client advocacy, children’s program, court accompaniment, information and referral.

Life Crisis Center Hotline: 1-800-422-0009 or 410-749-HELP.  Provides counseling for victims of domestic or sexual assault, suicide prevention, support groups, emergency shelter, shelter referral, medical care, and assistance with the process of prosecution.

Homerun Hotline: 1-800-HIT-HOME or 1-800-448-4663.  Information and referral; staffed by trained listeners.

Maryland State (AIDS) Hotline: 1-800-638-6252, 1-800-553-3140 (Hearing Impaired).  Information on testing and other referrals.

Americans with Disabilities Act Hotline: 1-800-USA-ABLE.  Provides information on the Americans with Disabilities Act

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders1-847-831-3438

Disaster Distress Helpline1-800-985-5990

Emergency Psychiatric Evaluation Process


Family members or other concerned adults may initiate an Emergency Evaluation process through the district court system that will allow the police to transport an individual to the local hospital emergency room for a psychiatric evaluation. The first step of the emergency evaluation process is referred to as an “emergency petition” (EP). Also, any of the following mental health professionals can complete an Emergency Petition form that will allow the police to transport an individual to the local emergency room for a psychiatric evaluation without going through the district court system: physician (MD), psychologist (Ph.D.), licensed clinical social worker (LCSW-C), licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and others. 

If a family member or concerned adult is initiating the emergency evaluation process, they would file and emergency petition at:
Clerk’s Office at the District Courthouse 
3451 Court House Drive, 
Ellicott City Maryland
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Information must be provided to a Judge regarding why this individual is a danger to themselves or others and therefore needs to be evaluated for a psychiatric hospitalization. If the Judge agrees that the individual being “petitioned” needs a psychiatric evaluation, the police will be ordered to transport the individual to the nearest hospital emergency room for a psychiatric evaluation. The Mobile Crisis Team (MCT) is available daily, responds with the police, and can complete an emergency petition if needed. Call 410-531-6677.

A psychiatric evaluation, which is completed by hospital staff, determines whether hospitalization is needed or whether a less restrictive level of care may be more appropriate. Admissions to psychiatric facilities (private or community hospitals) can be either voluntary or involuntary. If an evaluation is completed and inpatient treatment is recommended, the patient will be asked to sign a voluntary admission agreement. In the case of a minor, a parent/legal guardian signs the voluntary admissions agreement. In Maryland, a person 16 years old or older may sign himself into a psychiatric hospital. However, the parent of a minor child can authorize in-patient treatment even over the objections of the adolescent who is 16-18 years old.

If the patient refuses to be hospitalized voluntarily, he or she may be admitted involuntarily on certificates signed by two physicians, or one physician and one licensed psychologist. The certificates attest to the need for hospitalization based on the following:

  • the individual is suffering from a mental disorder
  • the individual is in need of inpatient care
  • the individual is a danger to self or others

Howard County General Hospital has an Emergency Room for psychiatric emergencies that is separate from the regular Emergency Room. This behavioral health Emergency Room is for individuals 18 and older. Individuals under 18 would use the Pediatric Emergency Room. When a patient is admitted involuntarily to a hospital, a hearing must occur before an administrative law judge within 10 days to determine if the individual can continue to be involuntarily confined to an in-patient psychiatric facility against his wishes.

Extreme Risk Protective Orders

For information about Extreme Risk Protective Orders, visit the Maryland Courts website by clicking here.