For students of color, mental health care can sometimes feel inaccessible or irrelevant, and recent research has found major disparities in mental health treatment for students across races and ethnic backgrounds. And with many colleges and universities moving counseling services to virtual environments during the pandemic, you may have found yourself lacking adequate care during this stressful time, which has been exacerbated by the constant coverage of racial injustice on the news and social media.

Not only do people of color — including Black, Indigenous, Asian-American and Pacific Islander and Latinx students — face additional challenges in receiving mental health care, from financial concerns to social stigma, but you also may have a hard time finding culturally competent providers that meet your specific needs, which is a legitimate concern. But taking care of your mental health is important, and putting off treatment can negatively impact your success in school.

As the entire world deals with the added emotional and financial stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US has been confronting ongoing systemic racism and racial injustice that needs to be addressed. This means that not only have students of color had to cope with pandemic life, but you may have also been struggling with the additional pain and trauma of witnessing or experiencing racism and discrimination. With all of this going on, mental health care and wellness should be a priority right now, whether you seek in-person treatment or virtual therapy.

Unfortunately, students of color are much less likely to seek treatment for mental health issues than white students. This is often due at least in part to social stigmas around mental illness within some communities, particularly Asian-American and Latinx communities, according to a survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2018. This can lead to shame and embarrassment surrounding mental health that prevents individuals from getting the treatment they need, and a fear that they may be perceived as weak if they do seek outside help. Other factors that may prevent students of color from seeking treatment include poverty, lack of health insurance coverage and concerns about immigration status.

While access to mental health care can be a challenge, finding a provider you feel comfortable with can be even more challenging. In the US, there is a lack of providers of color and culturally competent mental health care providers, and it isn’t always easy to track down providers based on race, ethnic background or cultural competency. But it’s important to have a mental health care provider that understands you, your background and your experiences — whether you have experienced racial trauma directly or indirectly (through the media or intergenerational trauma), discrimination or isolation.

Fortunately, there are actually many organizations working to make mental health care more accessible to BIPOC communities. Of course, the needs of Black, Indigenous, Latinx and AAPI communities vary greatly, and many of these organizations recognize and address the unique challenges faced by the communities they serve and aim to help overcome specific obstacles to mental health care. On many of their websites, you can find user-friendly directories that will help you find a culturally competent provider based on your needs as well as educational resources, community events, blogs and podcasts related to mental health and wellness.

Mental Health Resources for Black Students

Therapy for Black Girls is an online community that aims to present mental health topics in a way that feels more accessible and relevant for Black women and girls. Their website provides free resources such as a therapist directory, podcast and blog that aim to promote mental wellness for Black women. Becoming a member opens up access to additional educational resources and events and connects women to other members in their area.

Melanin and Mental Health was created to connect Black and Latinx/Hispanic individuals with culturally competent clinicians and make mental health care more accessible to minority populations. A large part of their mission is erasing the stigma around mental health that may prevent some individuals from seeking the treatment they need. Their website includes a directory of clinicians, free resources, events and their podcast Between Sessions.

The AAKOMA Project is focused on helping adolescent and young adult people of color overcome stigmas around mental health by raising awareness, conducting research and providing culturally-relevant clinical support in their communities. They work to change perceptions that mental health care is only for the wealthy by making it more accessible to everyone, regardless of their identity, background or income. On their website, you can find free resources and even sign up for free virtual therapy.

Therapy for Black Men aims to put an end to the idea that asking for help is a sign of weakness, especially among Black men. Their goal is to make it easier for men of color to connect with culturally competent therapists and find a provider that fits their needs. Their website includes a directory of mental health providers and coaches in all 50 states as well as a number of other free resources.

BEAM is committed to removing barriers that prevent Black individuals from receiving the emotional and mental health care they need. They promote education, training, advocacy and creative arts in their mission to help Black communities heal. Their website has free educational resources and a Black Virtual Wellness Directory to aid in finding wellness providers, whether you are looking for a therapist, yoga instructor, doula or anything else related to emotional wellbeing.

The Black Mental Health Alliance promotes culturally-relevant education and training to support the wellbeing of Black individuals. They also have a directory of Black psychiatrists and a referral service that connects individuals with therapists who are committed to serving Black communities with a patient-centered, culturally-competent approach to mental health care. Their website has free educational resources and they frequently hold virtual events and workshops.

The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation is committed to changing perceptions and erasing stigmas around mental health issues in the African-American community. They do this by providing support and education and promoting awareness of mental health issues in the African-American community. On their website you can find educational resources, a directory of mental health providers and programs as well as free virtual therapy options.

MyWellbeing’s Grounding Groups provide free mental health support groups for people of color, led and facilitated by trained mental health providers of color. MyWellbeing can also match students to the best 1:1 therapist or coach for them (and they do take racial identity into account!) — students can get started by sharing their preferences here.

Mental Health Resources for Indigenous Students

Native Wellness promotes the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing of Native people through education and training while embracing indigenous traditions and teachings. They offer free virtual wellness training on a variety of topics related to health and self-care as well as free educational resources on their website.

The Center for Native American Youth works with Native individuals age 24 and younger to improve their health, safety and wellbeing. They help to empower Native youth by improving access to opportunities and resources and encouraging them to draw strength from Native culture. Their website has a number of resources and educational webinars geared toward Native youth.

Native Americans for Community Action aims to empower and advocate for Native peoples and provide preventative wellness strategies while embracing indigenous values. If you are local to the Flagstaff, Arizona area you can utilize their Family Health Center, Wellness Center and behavioral health services.

Indian Health Service is a federal health program for Native Americans and Alaska Natives. They work to ensure that comprehensive, culturally-appropriate care is provided and accessible to Native Americans and Alaska Natives. They offer a variety of programs related to behavioral health along with mental health and substance abuse resources.

We R Native offers free resources for Native youth including articles and videos related to indigenous culture, mental health and wellness. They cover a number of topics, from Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ identities, self-esteem and self-love, bullying, anxiety and depression to just learning to cope with normal stresses of school and life. You can also ask confidential questions about anything via their Ask Auntie or Ask Uncle service.

StrongHearts Native Helpline is a free, confidential 24/7 helpline for Native Americans who may be suffering from domestic, dating or sexual violence. They provide culturally-appropriate services at no cost, including peer support, education, personalized safety planning, crisis intervention and referrals or support finding Native-center health providers or facilities.

Mental Health Resources for Latinx Students

Latinx Therapy works to destigmatize mental health in the Latinx community. Their website has a number of mental health and wellness resources and a directory to culturally-competent therapists. Additionally, they have a podcast, courses and workshops that discuss mental health issues related to Latinx individuals.

Therapy for Latinx helps to connect Latinx individuals with culturally-competent clinicians, making the process as easy and straight-foward as possible. They aim to make mental healthcare more accessible to everyone, regardless of their needs or financial situation. On their website, you can also find free resources and information related to mental health, including mental health screenings in partnership with Mental Health America.

The American Society for Hispanic Psychiatry supports Latinx patients, families and communities by promoting wellness and inclusion initiatives. While they are primarily and organization for mental health professionals, their website includes a directory of physicians organized by state which may be helpful if you are looking for a psychiatrist.

Melanin and Mental Health was created to connect Black and Latinx/Hispanic individuals with culturally competent clinicians and make mental health care more accessible to minority populations. A large part of their mission is erasing the stigma around mental health that may prevent some individuals from seeking the treatment they need. Their website includes a directory of clinicians, free resources, events and their podcast Between Sessions.

Mental Health Resources for AAPI Students

Asians Do Therapy aims to reduce stigma around mental health issues and increase accessibility of mental health care in the Asian community. Their website has free educational resources for those who are new to therapy or getting ready to begin therapy as well as articles related to Asian mental health. You can also find inspiring stories of others who chose to seek out therapy and the positive impact it had on their lives.

The Asian Mental Health Collective works to destigmatize mental health in the Asian community and make mental health care more accessible, available and approachable for Asian communities around the world. Resources on their website include informational articles, a community blog, virtual groups and therapist directories.

The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) promotes the mental health and wellbeing of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. On their website, you can find a list of AAPI service providers, a blog covering mental health issues and other educational resources related to mental health in Asian communities.

SouthAsianTherapists.org is a directory of culturally competent mental health providers serving South Asian communities to meet their unique needs. Along with their directory, the website also includes helpful information about starting therapy, monthly self-care subscription options and self-care workbooks available for purchase.

NQAPIA provides support for LGBTQ+ Asian American, South Asian, and Southeast Asian individuals. On their website you can find a directory of therapists and providers and educational resources related to AAPI mental health issues. You can also sign up to receive emails about various virtual events they hold, including support groups and mindfulness classes.

Asian American Suicide Prevention & Education has free educational resources related to Asian American mental health and suicide prevention. Their website also includes a directory to mental health agencies and professionals in New York and other helpful resources to help individuals who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts and their families.

Mental Health and Wellness Resources for Students of Color