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Mental health issues affect all communities, and there are resources available no matter where you live, your race, or ethnicity.

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Mental health problems can affect anyone, regardless of race or ethnicity.

The COVID-19 pandemic and other recent events brought national attention to the many forms of racism that People of Color and Indigenous people face at work, at home, and in their communities.

On top of managing their day-to-day responsibilities, individuals from historically marginalized groups have a unique set of stressors centered on racial identity that disproportionately makes them more likely to develop a mental health condition.

Yet, they are the least likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition or even able to find mental health support in their communities.

But there is help available.

A number of resources are specifically tailored to provide mental health help and support to People of Color, Indigenous people, and their communities.

Racism – in any form – can take a toll on not only the body but also on the mind.

Psychological effects of racism

Research suggests that racism is twice as likely to affect a person’s general health as well as their mental health.

According to the New York State Office of Mental Health, racial trauma may produce chronic stress, feelings of hopelessness and sadness, and – in some situations – thoughts of suicide.

The psychological effects of racial trauma can last for a long time.

A 2017 study found that Black males who were aware of racial discrimination when they were 20 to 23 years old were more likely to have symptoms of anxiety and depression during their 20s and early 30s.

Physical effects of racism

Racism not only has an impact on a person’s mental health but their physical health as well.

Research found that racial discrimination produces constant inflammation in the body, elevating the risk for chronic illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), racial and ethnic groups are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease, asthma, and obesity.

Adolescents aren’t immune to the effects of racism on the body, either.

According to a 2019 statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, adolescents frequently exposed to racial discrimination and stereotypes are likely to be chronically stressed.

Having constant stress on the body can harm the body and increase the risk for disease.

Stigma behind mental health

If you’re reluctant to seek help, you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at some numbers:

  • About 16% of individuals, over 7 million people, who identify as Black or African American report having had a mental health condition in the past year.
  • About 16% of individuals, over 10 million people, who identify as Latino or Hispanic report having had a mental health condition in the past year.
  • For Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, 15% of people, or 2.9 million individuals, report having had a mental health condition in the past year.

Research finds a high degree of stigma surrounding mental health in communities of color. For example, a 2021 study examining mental health-related stigma across racial and ethnic groups found Latino and Asian participants had higher levels of mental health-related stigma than white people.

Some common stigmas reported in these surveys include:

  • people with mental health issues are dangerous
  • mental health problems are caused by lack of faith or demons
  • mental health conditions are just an excuse for sinful behavior
  • mental health is a private issue and should not be talked about

A 2016 paper showed that discrimination at work and housing, education, and healthcare could be linked to these stigmas and more surrounding mental health.

Additional factors

Treatment disparities have prevented People of Color and Indigenous people from accessing high-quality healthcare.

Health insurance may not cover therapy or have strict requirements on eligibility to receive mental health services. People with limited means of transportation may also feel disinclined to seek treatment if it requires extensive travel.

Having a language barrier may also limit access to mental health services. It can also cause communication difficulties between you and a therapist who does not understand your culture or speak your language.

By prioritizing your mental health, you’re taking care of yourself and destigmatizing therapy for others in your community.

Whether you’re new to therapy or looking to get back to it, there are several points you may want to consider when choosing your therapist.

Here are some other details you may want to consider when choosing a therapist:

  • Consider your reasons. Think about the type of issues you want to discuss in therapy. If you’re experiencing certain behaviors — think about the differences in treatment between PTSD and insomnia — a therapist specializing in a specific field may be better suited for you.
  • Ask for a referral. Ask your family doctor, if you have one, or friends or family you trust if they have recommendations for a mental health professional.
  • Schedule a pre-consultation. Make a list of potential therapists and schedule a phone consultation to understand their communication styles and whether they would be a good fit for your needs. You can use the time to ask questions regarding their experience with racially sensitive issues and their training.
  • Check with your health insurance company. Call your insurance provider to find out if coverage is available for mental health services and, if so, how much. Some insurance companies may have a list of in-network therapists they’re willing to cover.

People of Color and Indigenous people experience health disparities because of the lack of accessibility to good mental health services.

Here we provide a breakdown of resources for various racial and ethnic groups including:

Black people and African American resources

  • The Association of Black Psychologists: This organization strives to positively impact the mental health of Black communities through programs, services, and more. Their find-a-therapist tool will connect you with a psychologist in your area.
  • Black/African American, SAMHSA: Information page on behavioral health issues that impact Black and African American individuals. They also provide information on resources and initiatives.
  • Black Emotional And Mental Health (BEAM): This organization provides information on mental health training and toolkits. They also have a directory of Black therapists who provide online services.
  • Black Female Therapists: This platform offers courses, podcasts, and so much more to empower women to discuss their mental health and wellness in a safe space. A therapist directory can help you connect with a therapist near you.
  • Black Girls Breathing: A community for Black women to manage stress through a combination of breathwork techniques.
  • Black Men Heal: A great tool for finding free mental health services for Black men.
  • Black Mental Health Alliance: An organization that connects individuals with nearby and culturally competent therapists. They also provide culturally relevant educational forums and training surrounding Black mental health.
  • Black Mental Wellness: Dedicated to providing various services related to mental health and wellness, this organization provides training and workshops, curriculum development, and consultation services.
  • Black Women’s Health Imperative: An organization dedicated to advancing health equity and social justice for Black women through education, research, and more.
  • Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation: A directory of mental health providers for the African American community.
  • Black Therapists Rock: Seeking to reverse racial trauma through collective healing, this group of therapists works to break down stigma and other barriers to mental health and wellness for African Americans and Black people. They also offer a therapist directory through Tru Circle.
  • Dear Black Women Project: A nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the health of Black women. Resources connecting women to therapists and crisis hotlines. There are also mental health readings and podcasts with positive affirmation to inspire and improve your well-being.
  • DRK Beauty: This digital community – specifically for women of color – provides free therapy services to women of color. You can access their directory to find available therapists near you.
  • Ethel’s Club: Membership-based virtual community offering live events, wellness resources, and classes.
  • Sista Afya Community Mental Wellness: An organization that provides mental wellness workshops, group therapy, support groups, and more.
  • Therapy for Black Men Directory: A virtual directory connecting Black men with therapists specializing in a wide range of therapies and specialties.
  • Therapy for Black Girls: This space is dedicated to encouraging the mental health and wellness of Black women and girls. They also have a directory to find a therapist near you.

Native American and Alaska Native resources

  • Behavioral Health, Indian Health Service: This hub gives information on behavioral health issues that affect the health of American Indian and Alaska Native individuals, their families, and their communities.
  • Center for Native American Youth: Dedicated to creating a strong future for Native American youth, this organization provides access to videos, peer-to-peer activities, and more.
  • National Indian Health Board: A nonprofit organization working with all tribal governments to support healthcare issues for Native Americans.
  • Tribal Affairs, SAMHSA: Information page on resources available for American Indians and Alaska Natives experiencing historical trauma and other healthcare disparities.
  • We R Native: Exclusively for Indigenous youth, this organization provides information about health, education, and relationships. They also offer mental health resources.

Latinx, Latina, Latino, and Hispanic resources

  • Latinx Therapy: This organization offers courses and workshops, access to a weekly podcast that discusses mental health topics affecting the Latinx, Latinas, and Latinos communities. They also have a directory of mental health therapists available in English and Spanish.
  • Therapy for Latinx: Virtual directory to search for therapists for Latinx people.
  • Melanin & Mental Health Directory: An organization helping the Black, Latinx, and Hispanic communities connect to free mental health resources and clinicians.
  • National Alliance for Hispanic Health: A hub for health information for the Latinx, Latino, and Hispanic communities. Resources include educational articles and a helpline in English and Spanish for help with navigating the healthcare system.

Asian American and Pacific Islander resources

LGBTQIA+ People of Color

Apps

  • Ayana app: A detailed questionnaire is used to connect you with a compatible, licensed therapist based on your background and needs.
  • Health in Her Hue: This android and iOS app connects Black women and Women of Color with culturally competent health content, healthcare professionals, and community.
  • Liberate: A daily meditation app for Black audiences.
  • Minds of the Culture: Incorporating therapy and faith-based practices, this iOS app provides informational blogs and videos, a directory, mood journal, a Bible, and much more.
  • The Safe Place: This android and iOS smartphone app focuses on psychoeducation and self-care for mental health for Black people.
  • Shine: Named Best of 2020 by Apple, this app provides self-care tips tailored to fit you and your needs.
  • Talley: This U.K.-based app provides a safe space for you to be heard and accepted. All conversations are confidential and anonymous.

Racism and discrimination are public health issues that affect individuals, their families, and their communities.

Navigating their effects isn’t easy. But by recognizing the need for therapy, you’ve already taken the first step toward improving your mental health.

If you’re considering mental health services, help is available.

Whether you’re looking for online or in-person support, there are ways you can connect with an experienced therapist or counselor who understands the concerns that impact you and your community.

Now that you have a list of resources, the next step is finding one that’s right for you and who best fits your needs.