Mental Health Resources for Asian and Asian American Students

| Genevieve Carlton


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No one should have to carry the burden of COVID-19 and violence against Asians and Asian Americans. If you're struggling, help may be just a click or call away.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stop AAPI Hate has recorded nearly 3,800 incidents of racial violence or harassment against Asians and Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the United States. A PEW research study found that 3 in 10 Asian Americans say they have experienced racial slurs or jokes since the pandemic began, and the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found a nearly 150% increase in hate crimes targeting people of Asian descent in 2020.

Hate incidents targeting the AAPI community — including physical assault, verbal harassment, online harassment, and civil rights violations — have taken a toll on many college students. Mental health resources for AAPI students include campus counseling services, student organizations, and national advocacy groups. Social media platforms can also offer mental health resources and support.

Finding culturally competent, affirming mental health support can be challenging, so you may find it helpful to research questions to ask potential providers in advance. In addition to off-campus resources and advocacy groups, this article also offers advice on finding help through your college or university. If you are struggling, reach out for support.

DISCLAIMER

The following is intended as an information resource only; we are not a medical organization and we cannot give medical advice. If you are experiencing a life-threatening situation, seek medical help or dial 911.

Report an Incident

Asian Americans Advancing Justice
Description Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a coalition of civil and human rights organizations.
Purpose Visitors can report incidents of violence or harassment they experienced or witnessed. Asian Americans Advancing Justice provide resources for individuals and communities to respond to, interrupt, or counteract hate crimes.
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • Users can report hate crimes in five languages
  • The site provides resources on housing rights and hate crime laws, along with individual and community resources
Website
Stop AAPI Hate
Description Stop AAPI Hate tracks and responds to hate crimes, violence, harassment, and discrimination targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Purpose Visitors can report a hate incident against them or someone else on the site. Stop AAPI Hate offers multilingual resources, technical assistance, and safety tools for affected groups.
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • Users can report hate crimes in more than 10 Asian languages
  • The site also offers news and reports related to hate crimes
Website
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Description This professional development organization offers legal resources for Asian Pacific Americans.
Purpose NAPABA's hate crimes task force offers pro bono legal resources to address hate-driven attacks. The resources include hate crime incident statistics, resources on reporting hate crimes, and whitepapers on hate and violence against Asian Americans.
Phone # 202-775-9555
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • Career resources and support for students planning to work in legal fields
  • Advocacy, research, and statistics for Asian Pacific legal communities
Website

Resources to Combat Hate Crimes

Hollaback! Virtual Training / Workshops
Description Hollaback! is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending harassment in all forms by changing the "culture that perpetuates hate and harassment."
Purpose Hollaback! provides free bystander intervention workshops that teach participants techniques for interrupting incidents of disrespect or harassment.
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • Collects stories of harassment to help engage participants and educate the public
  • Provides no-cost trainings to the public and works with companies, nonprofits, and schools to prepare custom trainings
Website
Combat Hate Crime Toolkits
Description Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum is a health advocacy organization that collaborated with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) to prepare this individual- and community-facing toolkit.
Purpose The toolkit aims to help community members recognize hate crimes, report them to law enforcement effectively, and communicate with the media appropriately.
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • Translated into two dozen languages
  • Provides a checklist to help community groups get organized
Website

General Mental Health Information

Asian Mental Health Collective
Description AMHC works to normalize and destigmatize mental health and make mental health resources accessible for Asian communities.
Purpose AMHC connects people through its blog, podcast, and ask-a-therapist features. The site also offers hotlines, mental health FAQs, a therapist directory, and local organizations.
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • International and Crisis Hotlines for several Asian countries
  • Local organizations throughout the U.S.
  • Resources for Asians and Asian Americans
Website
Anxiety & Depression Association of America
Description ADAA dates back to 1979, offering resources to prevent and treat anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Purpose This association provides tips on managing anxiety and stress, including coping strategies and stress management advice. ADAA also offers information about symptoms, treatment, and accessing professional help.
Phone # 240-485-1001
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • Some resources available in Spanish
  • Public-facing and professional resources
Website
Asian American Psychological Association
Description Since 1972, the AAPA strives to advance Asian American psychology and advocate on the community's behalf.
Purpose The AAPA provides resources on general mental health and wellness as well as resources specifically around bullying awareness, LGBTQ populations, and related to COVID-19.
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details COVID-19 resources are regularly updated
Website
National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association
Description Founded in 2000, NAAPIMHA advocates for AAPI individuals working in mental health careers or in need of mental healthcare.
Purpose NAAPIMHA focuses on promoting the well-being and mental health of Asian and Pacific Islander communities through trainings, resources, and advocacy projects.
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details NAAPIMHA has compiled a list of mental health providers serving members of the AAPI community in all 50 states.
Website
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Description NAMI is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States.
Purpose NAMI uses its state and affiliate branches to educate communities about mental illness and advocate for people with mental illness and their families.
Phone # 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
24/7 Availability? No - the helpline is available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., ET.
Details NAMI offers the NAMI Helpline, where people can get support when navigating mental health issues.
Website
SouthAsianTherapists.org
Description Founded in 2020, SouthAsianTherapists.org is an online directory of South Asian mental health professionals.
Purpose SouthAsianTherapists.org helps people locate and contact therapists who are specifically of South Asian descent.
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details In addition to the directory, site users can also access mental health resources and workbooks.
Website

Mental Health Screeners

ULifeline
Description ULifeline connects college students with online resources and tools through their campuses.
Purpose The mental health screener through ULifeline screens students for depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and alcohol or substance misuse. When filling out the screener, individuals can enter their schools to find specific information about campus resources available to them.
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • Offers information on anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues
  • Provides wellness resources
  • Keeps information anonymous
Website
National Institute of Mental Health's "Do I Need Help?" Infographic
Description NIMH offers many mental health resources, including brochures, fact sheets, and infographics. The "Do I Need Help?" infographic helps people determine whether they should reach out to a mental health professional.
Purpose The "Do I Need Help?" infographic helps people distinguish between mild and severe mental health symptoms. It offers self-care suggestions for mild symptoms and professional help resources for those with severe symptoms.
Phone # 866-615-6464
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • NIMH offers free hard copies of the infographic
  • Available in English and Spanish
Website

Hotlines

Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Description Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers 24/7, confidential support. This free service includes access to prevention and crisis resources.
Purpose In addition to the hotline service, which connects callers with local crisis lines, the site offers resources for youth, loss survivors, and people facing challenges with community unrest or emotional well-being.
English Language Phone # 800-273-8255
Asian Languages Phone # 877-990-8585
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details Also offers chat and a crisis text line
Website
Suicide Prevention and Crisis Services
Description SPCS supports individuals dealing with crisis and trauma. The service offers direct support and community education.
Purpose The SPCS Crisisline offers free crisis counseling as part of the National Suicide Lifeline system. SPCS also offers after-trauma services and educational programs for college students.
English Language Phone # 800-273-8255
Asian Languages Phone # 877-990-8585
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details Trained counselors and volunteers answer the Crisisline
Website
The Trevor Project
Description Dating back to 1998, the nonprofit organization The Trevor Project offers crisis and suicide prevention services specifically for LGBTQ youth.
Purpose The Trevor Project puts LGBTQ youth who are in crisis or considering suicide in direct contact with trained counselors in a free, safe, and supportive environment.
Phone # 1-866-488-7386
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • Trained counselors are available by phone, text, or chat
  • Offers workshops, ally training, and online resources
Website

Online Therapy

Better Help
Description Better Help makes counseling more accessible by connecting users with licensed psychologists, therapists, and professional counselors who match their needs and preferences. Users can exchange messages, chat live, and talk to their counselors on the phone or through video conferencing.
Purpose Better Help connects students with licensed counselors and therapists who can provide care through messages, chats, phone calls, and video conferencing. The site also provides articles and advice on mental health and wellness.
Phone # 888-688-9296
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • Therapy services available in English only
  • Typically not covered by health insurance
  • Offers an unlimited therapy service
  • Students under the age of 18 need a parent to open their accounts
Website
Talkspace
Description Talkspace offers therapy services through live video, messaging, and phone correspondence. Each user completes an assessment to identify their preferences and needs and chooses a therapist from a list of recommendations before beginning therapy.
Purpose Talkspace connects users with licensed providers who offer messaging therapy, video therapy, and phone services. Students can access assessments, take anxiety and depression tests, and receive discounted service through Talkspace's student plans.
Phone # 516-847-5432
24/7 Availability? Yes
Details
  • Therapists fluent in over 30 languages
  • Unlimited text, voice, and video messages
  • Covered by some insurance plans
  • Students under the age of 18 need parental permission
Website

Advocacy Groups

Advocacy groups bring people together to change policies, encourage civic engagement, and encourage structural change. The following groups, listed alphabetically, offer programs that promote racial equity and help organize communities.

These groups specifically empower Asian and AAPI students through their programming, which may include local services, leadership development programs, and wellness resources:

Founded in 2004, APIENC is an advocacy organization that supports transgender, gender non-binary, and queer individuals of Asian or Pacific Islander descend. Based out of the Bay Area in California, APIENC organizes advocacy efforts around trans justice, racial justice, environmentalism, and leadership building in social justice movements. AAPI Women Lead promotes progressive approaches to political and social issues. The association hosts conferences, supports AAPI women leaders, and partners with other groups that support women of color. Founded in 1991, AAJC advocates for Asian Americans' civil and human rights. The organization's programs include anti-Asian-hate resources, an anti-racial-profiling project, and legal advocacy. This national nonprofit organization promotes racial equity, civic engagement, and workforce development for the AAPI community. The association offers professional development programs designed to empower AAPI people. AVA advances the Vietnamese American community through direct services, advocacy, and education. The association hosts annual cultural and community events, connects Vietnamese Americans with public services, and advocates for social and economic equality. This organization aims to end harassment by training people to ally with others and disrupt harassment. Originally founded to end street harassment, today Hollaback! takes on harassment in all spaces and against many targeted groups, including the AAPI community. The organization collects stories of harassment, develops leaders, and teaches people how to intervene in and heal from harassment. JACL safeguards the civil and human rights of Japanese communities in the United States through events, programs, and legacy fund grants. The league hosts a day of remembrance, offers youth programs, and promotes policies to support Japanese Americans. KAC promotes Korean Americans' civic and civil rights. Dating back to 1983, this organization offers leadership development, community organizing, and educational resources. KAC's programs include leadership and student opportunities. NAPAWF elevates AAPI women and girls through social programs, advocacy, and civic engagement. The forum focuses on policy and structural changes, legal advocacy, and organizing to address core issues like reproductive rights, economic justice, and racial justice. NAAAP empowers AAPI leaders through professional networking, community service, and leadership development opportunities. Its programs include employee resource groups, a leadership convention, self-care tools, and a national leadership academy. NAAIS advocates for the more than 800,000 students of Indian origin who attend colleges in the U.S. and Canada. The association offers mental health resources for Indian students, including racial and social identity support and legal aid. NAAIS also has chapters in multiple states and provinces. Initially founded as the Organization of Chinese Americans in 1973, this organization advocates for Asian Pacific Americans across the country. OCA promotes comprehensive immigration reform, advocates for a more inclusive education system, and encourages civic engagement. NQAPIA is an affiliation of LGBTQIA+ organizations that support AAPI communities. It helps local organizations establish and expand advocacy and community outreach efforts. NQAPIA also offers resources and information about current events as they relate to social justice issues. SAALT advocates for South Asians in the U.S. through public policy analysis, advocacy, mobilization, and leadership development, all with an eye toward promoting racial justice and fighting for civil rights. SAN advocates for the South Asian community by helping people access healthcare coverage, apply for public benefits, and recover from domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. The network also offers nonpartisan voter engagement and COVID-19 relief.

Social Media Advocacy Resources

In addition to web-based resources, you can also find support through social media. Here are a few Instagram-based individuals and organizations that you may wish to follow.

College-Provided Resources

Colleges and universities offer a variety of mental health resources for students, including counseling services. The campus wellness center or student health center can connect students with crisis counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals. Many colleges also maintain multicultural affairs and diversity offices with resources specifically for students of color and international students.

College resources serve in-person, hybrid, and online learners. Distance learners can reach out to their school's online learning services office or online student advisors to learn more about accessing mental health resources for AAPI students.

Student Organizations

Asian and Asian American students can benefit from joining student organizations that create a sense of shared community. These organizations support students during mental health challenges, including in the wake of hate crimes or traumatizing current events. Student organizations might also help members access resources through their schools or communities to help manage their mental health.

How can you find student organizations at your college or university? Start with the student affairs office and ask about registered student organizations (RSOs). Advisors and fellow students can also provide information about RSOs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Find Out More About Multicultural Organizations at My School?

Most colleges offer student groups and multicultural organizations for both on-campus and online learners. Typically, the student affairs or multicultural affairs office provides information about these groups.

Is It Okay To Take a Mental Health Day From College?

Yes. College students should prioritize their mental health in addition to their physical well-being. Taking a mental health day can help students manage stress and anxiety.

How Can I Improve My Mental Health on College Campuses?

Many college students experience anxiety, stress, and depression. You can prioritize your mental health by researching campus mental health resources, reaching out to mental health professionals, and prioritizing your wellness.

Genevieve Carlton holds a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University. After earning her doctorate in early modern European history, Carlton worked as an assistant professor of history at the University of Louisville, where she developed new courses on the history of science, Renaissance Italy, and the witch trials. Carlton has published five peer-reviewed articles in top presses and a monograph with the University of Chicago Press. She also earned tenure with a unanimous vote before relocating to Seattle. Learn more about Carlton's work at genevievecarlton.com.


Karen Luu is a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Luu holds a master of science in nursing from Azusa Pacific University and an undergraduate degree in public health science. She has seven years of nursing experience, which includes working at the Level II Trauma Center, community hospitals, mental health urgent care, and private practice. Luu is currently working at a private practice that specializes in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. She emphasizes the importance of incorporating the recovery-based model in her everyday practice.


Geehan works to support and repair the connections people have to themselves and their families, communities, and cultural practices. She builds intergenerationally, with a commitment to transformative justice, to question and depolarize the beliefs and practices that can lead to isolation and feelings of powerlessness, and to co-create or reclaim ways that can promote resilience and healing from historical and social harms.

A queer, Asian, gender-binary, non-conforming parent, Geehan founded Interchange, a consulting group that offers anti-oppression support through materials and process assessments, staff training, and community building. She organizes as a part of Houston Babywearing Resource, National Perinatal Association's Health Equity Workgroup, the Health and Healing Justice Committee of the National Queer and Trans Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance, the Houston Community Accountability and Transformative Justice Collective, the Taking Care Study Group, QTPOC+ Family Circle, and Batalá Houston.

Header Image Credit: SolStock | Getty Images

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