Using 211 services during a mental health crisis – what is 211? is it available everywhere? What are the mental health services that are offered?

Cellphone and landline users making calls within the United States have access to N11 codes, like emergency services phoned in by dialing 911. 211, 311, 511, 711, 811, and 911 are nationally recognized by the United States Federal Communications Commission as codes for the following service lines, as according to the NANP, or North American Numbering Plan:

  • 211 – Social services info and related referrals
  • 311 – Police dispatch for all calls outside of life-threatening predicaments
  • 511 – Traffic and transportation information
  • 711 – Relay to other telecommunications providers
  • 811 – Consumer info line for inquiries related to identifying underground utility lines
  • 911 – All calls related to immediate danger or loss of life


While most people are familiar with calling 911 in emergencies, and maybe even 811 before they dig to check for utility and gas lines buried underground, not everyone is familiar with dialing 211.


What does dialing 211, or social services info and related referrals, actually do?

Back in 2000 – nearly 18 years ago – the Federal Communications Commission booked 211 for people in need of services like family support, help with disabled persons, assistance in finding basic human needs, and accessing physical and mental health resources.


More or less, anyone across the United States of America that is in need of or simply interested in social services can call 211 for general information, contact numbers of local and state service providers, and even same-day help for those who find themselves in tough situations.


Where can dialing 211 connect one with such services?

According to government statistics, calling 211 is available to more than 90 percent of Americans, collectively serving some 291 million United States residents.


Regardless of citizenship or fugitive status, residents and citizens of the United States can dial 211 for help at their convenience, given they have active phone service and are one of the 291-odd million Americans that are covered by the government-provided assistance line.


Dialing 211 during a mental health crisis

Although mental health problems and related treatment still suffers from a mild stigma, progress in destigmatizing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues have largely become accepted and mainstream.


The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that roughly 1 in 5 adults face mental health issues in any given year.


People in the throes of a mental health crisis can talk to trained professionals immediately, schedule face-to-face counseling appointments in the future, and be linked understanding medical providers. For those in desperate need of urgent help during a mental health crisis, 211 serves as the best lifeline.