In an emergency situation, it may feel like calling 911 is your only option. However, decades of mistreatment by law enforcement have left many in Black communities feeling like they have no one to call in a crisis.

A Washington Post database that tracks fatal shootings by an on-duty police officer shows that 21% of people shot were mentally ill. Across the country, deadly interactions between law enforcement and Black people living with mental illness have made headlines. In DeKalb County, cases such as the police shooting deaths of Matthew Zadok Williams and Anthony Hill have left locals concerned about being the victims of racial bias by law enforcement.

Joshua Byrd, a criminal justice professor at American InterContinental University and a former deputy in the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office who conducted bias training, told Capital B that oftentimes police officers don’t even want to acknowledge that they have racial bias against Black people.

In light of this reality, there are local government and nonprofit organizations working to provide alternatives for people who don’t feel safe dialing 911.

Here’s a list of city, metro area, and state resources you can reach out to for help.

City Resources

The Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative

The Policing Alternatives and Diversion Initiative is an organization dedicated to connecting city and Fulton County residents in crisis with resources instead of criminal justice involvement. When you call 311, the city’s non-emergency services hotline, PAD’s community response team will respond and assess the needs of the person in crisis. They then can connect the individual with a range of services, including mental health or medical care, substance use recovery services, and access to housing, and provide long-term case management for those with open and eligible criminal cases in Atlanta or Fulton County.

Operating Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Contact Info: Call 311, or (404) 546-0311, and select option 1. 

Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative (SnapCo) 

SnapCo is a Black trans- and queer-led organization that works on building safe communities. Through a partnership, SnapCo offers a yearlong free premium membership to Citizen, a safety app that gives members access to a network of first responders that provide a non-police alternative to mental health or medical emergency services.

You must be a member of SnapCo to qualify for free membership to Citizen.

Operating Hours: 24/7

Contact Info: Become a member of SnapCo 

Metro Area Resources

DeKalb County

DeKalb Regional Crisis Center

The center’s services include psychiatric medical assessment, individual, group, and family counseling, crisis support, intervention, and medically monitored substance withdrawal management. 

The center can also dispatch a Mobile Crisis Unit, which includes a registered nurse and a police officer who can intervene and evaluate individuals in a mental health crisis. If DeKalb police have already responded to a call where mental health services are needed, officers have access to the MCU. 

Operating Hours: The MCU operates seven days a week, in two shifts: The first from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; the second from noon to 10:30 p.m. The Regional Crisis Center operates 24/7.

Contact Info: Call (404) 294-0499

Clayton County

Clayton Center

Clayton Center offers a range of services for people experiencing mental health, developmental disabilities, or substance abuse problems. The center offers behavioral health counseling for children, teens, and young adults, as well as in-patient and outpatient services for adults dealing with addiction.

The center is located at 853 Battle Creek Road in Jonesboro.

Operating Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact Info: (770) 478-1099

Gwinnett County

OneStop 4 Help 

OneStop 4 Help is for residents facing health, hunger, housing, or other issues in Gwinnett County. Once residents complete a form, they’re paired with a “community navigator” to help them through the challenge.

Operating Hours:

  • OneStop Buford: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
  • OneStop Centerville: Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to noon.
  • OneStop Norcross: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
  • OneStop 4 Help at Gwinnett Senior Services Center: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact Info: Call (770) 822-8850 or fill out the online form. For services specific to senior citizens, call (678) 377-4150.

Cobb County

Behavioral Health Crisis Center at Cobb

Through Highland Rivers Behavioral Health, Cobb County offers crisis, mental health, and substance use services. The center also has programming for children and teens, as well as programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Operating Hours: 24/7

Contact Info:  (404) 794-4857

State Resources

Georgia Crisis and Access Line

The telephone operators can provide intervention services, dispatch a mobile crisis team, assist in finding an open detox bed, and find an open appointment for individuals with urgent needs.

GCAL operators also provide referrals to locally run crisis centers across the state and access to a state funded provider.

Operating Hours: 24/7

Contact Info: Dial 988 or (800) 715-4225

Partnership Against Domestic Violence 

Partnership Against Domestic Violence is an organization dedicated to offering a holistic approach to ending domestic violence. They can provide emergency housing and offer a number of services to people experiencing domestic violence. 

In addition to a 90-day stay in an emergency shelter, PADV connects people with landlords for longer-term housing solutions that allow individuals to become self-sufficient. They also offer legal advocacy services and community support groups for people struggling with domestic violence.

Operating Hours: 24/7

Contact Info: (404) 873-1766

Madeline Thigpen is Capital B Atlanta's criminal justice reporter.