Mental Health Access for Marginalized Communities

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

It is no secret that mental illness is extremely stigmatized and mental healthcare is often inaccessible—and yet, mental health holds significant weight in our daily lives and society. Though the world is becoming more aware of how important it is to take care of oneself and others mentally as well as physically, it is slow going, and is a road riddled with difficulties. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we are offering some supportive resources.

There are a variety of problems with the world of mental health conversations, spaces, and resources: care is expensive, hard to secure, and often rooted in ideas of white supremacy—in short, it’s full of elitism. Mental health resources, including medication and affirming therapy are hard to obtain at all without health insurance. These obstacles particularly affect those who are low income, disabled, members of the LGBTQ+ community, women, trans people, gender non-conforming or non-binary folk, immigrants, and/or Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.

Below are some statistics detailing the extent to which people of color, low-income folk, women and LGBTQ+ community members need and lack mental health care:

  • In 2017, according to the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey (Table A-7), “58.2 percent of Black and African American young adults 18-25 and 50.1 percent of adults 26-49 with serious mental illness did NOT receive treatment.”
  • According to the American Psychological Association, “In 2013, the percentage of racial/ethnic minority groups within the psychology workforce was 16%, while the overall workforce was made up of 39.6%, and the general doctoral/professional workforce was 25.8%. Of the psychology workforce, Asians made up 4%, Blacks/African Americans 5%, Hispanics 5% and other racial/ethnic groups 2%.”
  • According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Facts for Refugees, Asylum-seekers and Survivors of Forced Displacement, “about one out of three asylum seekers and refugees experience high rates of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).”
  • According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Facts for American Indians and Alaska Natives, “AI/AN children and adolescents have the highest rates of lifetime major depressive episodes and highest self-reported depression rates than any other ethnic/racial group.”
  • According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Facts for Women, “1 in 5 women in the United States has a mental health problem such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or an eating disorder.”
  • According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Facts for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, “2.7 million AA/PIs have a mental and/or substance use disorder.” Also, “AA/PIs are least likely to seek mental health services than any other racial/ethnic group.”
  • According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Facts for Hispanics and Latinos, “studies have shown that older Hispanic adults and Hispanic youth are especially vulnerable to psychological stresses associated with immigration and acculturation.”
  • According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Mental Health Facts for LGBTQ people, “the rate of suicide attempts is four times greater for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and two times greater for questioning youth than that of heterosexual youth.”

Within these communities especially, therapy and conversations around mental health in general are too often looked down upon or not spoken of at all. All too often within my own Mexican, first-generation immigrant family, I hear phrases like “it’s too expensive”, “tough it out”, or “a therapist doesn’t know anything about you, us, and/or our situation”. The stigmatization and the high cost of mental health make it hard to access and, when accessed, create problems with true healing and treatment. We must work to eliminate capitalistic and white supremacist structures within our mental health systems.

While the issues with mental health accessibility and structures are far from being solved, it is still important that those in marginalized communities have access to mental health resources. These groups especially need to have access to professionals and spaces that are from their communities. Black people need Black therapists. Trans people need gender-affirming care.  All communities at the margins need access to those that understand their issues and can provide the space, time, and resources that will help create lasting, positive mental health.

Below is a list of resources that are low-income friendly, free or charge on a sliding scale. They are mental health centers, therapists, psychiatrists, counselors, collectives, and more that are supportive of LGBTQ+, gender non-conforming, non-binary, Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and other POC community members. Because many of them deal with the intersections of identities, they are not separated into categories, but they do include short descriptions and links.

Credit for much of this list goes to @ablackfemaletherapist on IG, who put together a graphic on Instagram some months ago. As a reminder, it is often Black women, and members within the communities being spoken of, that do much of the labor for their own communities and the world — whether that be for mental health or any other community needs.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center: offers programs, services, and global advocacy for LGBT people that span four categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, and Leadership and Advocacy.

The Center: NYC LGBT Community center that offers health and wellness programs, arts, entertainment, and cultural events, parenthood and family support services, and connection to community and resources.

IHI Therapy Center: NYC-based non-profit psychotherapy and training center that provides LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy and focuses on creating “personal growth free of traditional gender, sexual orientation, and cultural biases.”

The DC Center for the LGBT Community: Washington, DC-based center for LGBT community that offers health and wellness programs, arts, entertainment, and cultural events, parenthood and family support services, and connection to community and resources.

Open Path Psychotherapy Collective: a non-profit, nationwide network of mental health professionals providing reduced-rate, in-office and virtual mental health care to individuals, couples, children, and families.

Inclusive Therapists: a nationwide network of therapists that aim to make the therapist process simpler and safer for Black, Indigenous, people of color, and the LGBTQIA2S+ community by matching you with a therapist. They also advocate for mental health care to disabled people and honor the neurodiversity spectrum.

National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network: provides a nationwide network of therapists for Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, as well as a Mental Health Fund that is designed to provide financial support for psychotherapy to QTBIPOC.

The Loveland Foundation: “provides financial assistance to Black women and girls seeking therapy nationally.”

Soulace: “a virtual therapy app for Black people with Black therapists,”; matches clients with therapists, and clients have access to text and video therapy sessions.

Clinicians of Color: a network of therapists/matching tool for people of color to find clinicians of color near them, filtered by insurance, treatment style, and other preferences.

Trap Therapist: “a collective of mental health professionals from urban, low income backgrounds who offer counseling and community mental health programming to individuals in and from marginalized communities.”

Ayana Therapy: an app that “matches users with licensed professionals that share their unique traits, values, and sensibilities.”

Latinx Therapy: a directory of therapists, courses and workshops, wellness resources, and more for Latinx people.

A Therapist Like Me: a non-profit “dedicated to connecting minority-identifying clients to minority-identifying therapists, advancing therapists of color, [and] providing financial gifts to minority-identifying clients for psychotherapy…”

Therapy for Queer People of Color: based in Atlanta, this is a mental health network and group therapy practice with the “goal to increase access to quality and inclusive mental healthcare for queer and trans folks of color.”

Healing in Color: a directory of BIPOC therapists who are committed to supporting BIPOC through individual and collective healing.

Therapy for Latinx: therapist directory for Latinx folk to find supportive and accessible therapists.

South Asian Therapists: therapist directory for South Asian folk around the world, including dietitians, coaching, and more.

Asian Mental Health Collective: collective that provides mental health resources and community for the Asian community around the world; “From organizations to artists, these are people who are trying to pave the way for the acceptance and normalization of Asian mental health issues.”

Therapy for Black Men: directory of therapists and coaches nationwide that aim to provide judgement-free, multiculturally-competent, and need-based care to Black men.

Therapy for Black Girls: directory of therapists, community, and resources for Black women; “this space was developed to present mental health topics in a way that feels more accessible and relevant.”

Therapy that Liberates: directory of Black and Brown therapists for Black and Brown clients that want to find therapy that dismantles “colonial, oppressive, racist, binary systems”, “honor(s) Black Diasporic healing traditions”, and more.

Black Therapist Network: aims to “raise awareness about mental health and to reduce challenges in accessing mental health” by providing a Black therapist network.

Melanin and Mental Health: a directory of therapists and resources for Black people and other people of color to connect with other therapists and clients.

This list is by no means all of the resources out there—feel free to share more resources in the comments.

*Note: The American Humanist Association is providing this list for informational purposes only. We have not vetted and do not necessarily endorse the providers on this list. Please make sure to research any healthcare provider you choose.