Bureau of Behavioral Health

The vision of the Howard County Health Department Bureau of Behavioral Health is to create a model community in which behavioral health equity and optimal wellness are accessible for all who live, work and visit Howard County.

Experiencing a Behavioral Health or Mental Health Crisis? Call or Text 9-8-8, the 24/7 National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

Behavioral Health: “The term “behavioral health” in this context means the promotion of mental health, resilience, and wellbeing; the treatment of mental and substance use disorders; and the support of those who experience and/or are in recovery from these conditions, along with their families and communities.” - SAMHSA

Mission, Vision and Core Values of the Bureau of Behavioral Health

Community Services Directories

Youth Opioid Response & Prevention Needs Assessment - Executive Summary

Pain Management Patient Information Guide

Maryland Adult Use Cannabis Legalization Information

Adults 21+ will be able to purchase cannabis from licensed dispensaries beginning July 1, 2023. Learn more information about this new law and find resources about using cannabis responsibly on the Maryland Cannabis Administration website.

Public Health Alert - Xylazine

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning the public of a sharp increase in fentanyl being mixed with xylazine. Xylazine, also known as “Tranq,” is a powerful sedative.  Xylazine and fentanyl drug mixtures place users at a higher risk of a fatal drug overdose. Because xylazine is not an opioid, naloxone (Narcan) does not reverse its effects. Still, experts always recommend administering naloxone if someone might be suffering a drug overdose. People who use drug mixtures containing xylazine also can develop severe wounds, including necrosis—the rotting of human tissue—that may lead to amputation.


If you need help, talk to one of our Peer Support Staff at 667-203-1253 or 667-203-1264 for information or for harm reduction kits.

CAREAPP - connect to community programs and services



Crisis Intervention Hotlines & Support Groups


Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center 410-531-6677 (local) or 9-8-8, 24 hours, 7 days a week
Mental Health Walk-in hours 24 hours, 7 days a week
Substance Use Walk-in hours 24 hours, 7days a week

Location: 8990 Old Annapolis Rd., Suite A, Columbia, MD 21045
Website: https://www.grassrootscrisis.org/

Maryland Mental Health Text Message Support - Text MDMindHealth to 898-211

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Howard County 410-772-9300
Location: 9650 Santiago Rd #1, Columbia, MD 21045
Website: https://namihowardcounty.org/          

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Call or Text 9-8-8 - Provides counseling for suicide prevention

Maryland Crisis Hotline: 1-800-422-0009 - 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.

Runaway Hotline: 1-800-621-4000 – Support services for runaways and homeless youth

Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence: 1-800-927-4673 -  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.

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


Community Services Directories


Community Services Directories

Network of Care Directory of Services (for Howard County) - A searchable directory for individuals, families and agencies concerned with behavioral health. It provides information about behavioral health services, laws, and related news, as well as communication tools and other features.

Directory of Behavioral Health ServicesBehavioral Health Services Directory (updated April 2024)

Directory of Behavioral Health Services for YouthYouth Behavioral Health Services Directory (updated July 2024)

Behavioral Health Providers FAQs

Bilingual Behavioral Health Resources: Click here (Updated August 2021)

*Directories are not intended to be an exhaustive, authoritative guide to services. The guides on this page are updated frequently, however, changes occur regularly in agencies and organizations, thus, information may be outdated when you read these directories.

Behavioral Health Navigation Services: Call 410-313-6240 for resources, information & referrals.


Self-Help Meetings & Resources


Alcoholics Anonymous (local information)

The Serenity Center (self-help/12 step meeting hall)

On Our Own of Howard County (open door wellness center)

SMART Recovery (resources and meeting information)

Narcotics Anonymous (national meeting locator)

Free State Region NA (Howard County and other local area NA site)


Howard County Recovery Housing Centers


Harm Reduction Services


Mobile service and expanded programs available

Call or visit to learn about Harm Reduction Services. Tuesday & Thursday, 10 am - 2 pm. Talk to Peer Support Staff with lived experience. Call 667-203-1264 or email harmreductionssp@howardcountymd.gov

Our services include:

  • HIV/Hepatitis & STI testing and support services
  • Narcan/Overdose Response training & kits
  • Safe sex supplies
  • Peer Support staff access
  • Wound care
  • Harm Reduction kits/safer use supplies
  • Referrals to medical services/social service agencies

LEAD Program


The LEAD program is a public health and safety initiative being carried out in partnership with multiple Howard County stakeholders. LEAD offers the police an alternative to arresting and charging for crimes that are committed due to unmet behavioral health needs and poverty. Instead of the usual criminal justice response, police officers can offer the LEAD program for minor eligible offenses. A Case Manager will then meet with the individual to determine their needs and offer support. Services can include: peer support; referrals for MH/SUD services; referrals to workforce development; and referrals for any identified needed services.


Behavioral Health Staff Information & Services Directory


A directory of Bureau of Behavioral Health staff and services they provide.


Past Behavioral Health Events


Howard County Suicide Prevention Forum 
Join the Howard County Health Department's Bureau of Behavioral Health, the Local Health Improvement Coalition (LHIC) and other partners for a presentation and panel discussion to explore collaborative community-based suicide prevention strategies. Click for the Suicide Prevention Forum.

Mental Health and It's Impact on Everything
Click here to view recording. (Passcode: c$XF1EK5)

This workshop will largely focus on the mental and emotional impact of living through a pandemic. Participants will have an increased understanding of emotional wellness throughout the lifespan and be better equipped to meet their mental and emotional health needs.

Difficult Conversations About Race series 
Click here to view the recordings.

This 3-part virtual series is a response to the civil unrest of the past year and beyond. Our presenter will offer guidance and structure around conversations addressing racial injustice and confusion, as well as cultural competency, a critical topic that has emerged as more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Getting Access to Mental Health Care: Howard County
Click here to view the recording

Join Leah Bulka, LMSW, Behavioral Health Navigator and Suicide Prevention Coordinator from the Howard County Health Department, Cynthia Schulmeyer, Ph.D., NCSP, Coordinator of Psychological Services from the Howard County Public School System, and MHAMD staff for a presentation on mental health resources in Howard County. Followed by a Q&A where you can get answers to questions about accessing resources and treatment.

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