Find mental health resources for immigrants and refugees

Many people experience mental health problems. It is common in the USA to get help and treatment. It is nothing to be embarrassed by or fear. Learn about the different types of treatment and mental health resources for immigrants.

Understanding mental health

What is mental health?

Mental health is your health as it relates to your mental, emotional, and social well-being. Well-being is a feeling of being comfortable, healthy, and happy. Mental health can also be called mental wellness.

What is mental illness?

Mental illness is a health condition that affects your thoughts, feelings, behavior, and physical health. Mental illness can also be called a mental disorder.

Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the United States. Many factors and experiences can impact your mental health. These can include biology, family history, and life experiences. The COVID-19 pandemic increased anxiety and depression in people across the world.

Immigrants and refugees who have experienced abuse, loss, and war can have mental health problems. This is understandable. Not having access to education, work, housing, health resources, and community support can also affect your mental health.

Signs of mental illness

Common types of mental health illnesses include anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Mental illnesses can cause physical and emotional pain as well as changes in your behavior. They can make it difficult for you to do your usual daily activities. 

Symptoms can be different for each person, but common signs include: 

  • Feeling sad or numb or hopeless
  • Feeling scared, worried, or angry
  • Loss of interest in social activities
  • Unable to perform daily tasks
  • Having little or no energy
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Serious weight loss 
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Thoughts of harming yourself 

You can get help if you are experiencing these symptoms. It is not something to feel ashamed of. It can be hard for some people to talk about mental health, especially if it is not something you did in your home country.

Mental health is just as important as your physical health. Talking about mental health is the first step in healing. Getting treatment can help you feel better and improve the quality of your life.

Types of treatment

The type of treatment you get will depend on your specific experiences and needs. The two most common types of mental health treatment are:

Psychotherapy or talk therapy is the most common type. You can speak to a therapist by yourself or in a group. Other forms of therapy include art, music, and dance therapy. 

Medication is often prescribed in combination with therapy.

Who can offer treatment

Service providers that are trained to treat mental illnesses in the United States include:

  • Primary care providers are licensed to treat general health problems and can prescribe medication. 
  • Psychiatrists are medical doctors licensed to check for mental health problems, provide therapy, and prescribe medications. 
  • Psychologists are professionals licensed to test mental health problems and give therapy. Psychologists cannot prescribe medications. 
  • Social workers are licensed to assess and treat mental health problems. 
  • Counselors and therapists are licensed to provide therapy.
  • Peer specialists are professionals who have experienced mental health conditions and are trained to offer emotional support.

Mental health professionals may work with specific groups, including immigrants, refugees, children, and families. They may also be trained in specific areas and may focus on depression, alcohol, drug addiction, or trauma. 

Many providers seek to provide culturally responsive services that meet the needs of different communities. Some offer support in multiple languages. 

Your immigration status does not affect your ability to receive mental health services. You are not required to report your immigration status to health care providers.

How to find mental health services

There are different ways you can search for mental health services.

Start by contacting your primary care doctor if you have one. They can screen for mental disorders and refer you to a mental health specialist. 

Ask your local resettlement agency. They can connect you with mental health help in your area. The Office of Refugee Resettlement offers mental health services and support to the following groups: 

  • Refugees and asylums
  • Cuban/Haitian entrants
  • Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders
  • Amerasians
  • Victims of trafficking 
  • Survivors of torture 
  • Unaccompanied children 

Check with your school to see if they offer mental health services. 

Search for mental health services online:

list of mental health resources by zip code or city
list of centers providing general health and mental health services
helps undocumented youth find mental health support
list of culturally responsive counseling services 
list of mental health and other resources for LGBTQ+ immigrants
resources for Muslim Americans
list of clinics that offer free or low-cost health services
list of services for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders
list of clinics that treat mental health problems or substance abuse
list of facilities that treat substance abuse and addiction
list of counseling services for the South Asian community in the U.S.
list of counseling services for the Latinx community in the U.S. 
list of free or low-cost services for undocumented immigrants
mental health services and support for survivors of war and torture in Arizona, Georgia, and Minnesota
list of mental health services in Illinois for immigrant communities
Find help near you

Find legal help, English classes, health clinics, housing support, and more. Search a local map and list of services for immigrants in the USA with the app FindHello.

Start your search

It may take some time for you to get an appointment with a mental health provider. You can get other support while you wait. 

  • Talk to your family or friends
  • Call or text a crisis hotline 
  • Join a support group 

Crisis hotlines

Crisis hotlines offer free support for people experiencing an emotional crisis. They keep your information confidential and do not share it with anyone. They are usually available at all hours of the day and every day of the week. All of these hotlines are staffed by counselors trained to listen and provide help. Some offer support in multiple languages.

988 (call or text)
741741 (text)
(800) 985-5990 (call or text)
(800) 422-4453 (call or text)
(800) 799-7233
88788 (text START)
(888) 373-7888 (call)
233733 (text)
(800) 786-2929 (call or text)
(800) 656-4673 (call)
SAMHSA National Helpline to find local services
(800) 662-4357
(800) 852-8336 (call)
839863 (text)
Trevor Project for LGBTQ young people
(866) 488-7386 (call)
678678 (text)
988 (call and press 1)
838255 (text)

Most of these lines also have an option to chat online. Visit their website to check. If you are texting any of these lines, texting “hello” should connect you to someone.

Call 911 if you are in immediate danger. Tell the operator you are having a mental health emergency. Learn more about how to call the police.

Peer support 

Peer support groups are with people who have had similar experiences. In these groups, people get the chance to share their experiences and get support from people in their community.

The information on this page comes from, NAMI, SAMHSA, and other trusted sources. We aim to offer easy to understand information that is updated regularly. This information is not legal advice.