Mental Health Resources and Advocacy Groups for Asian and Asian American Students
Updated September 16, 2022
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.
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.|
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.|
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.|
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.|
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.|
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.|
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.|
|Details||COVID-19 resources are regularly updated|
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.|
|Details||NAAPIMHA has compiled a list of mental health providers serving members of the AAPI community in all 50 states.|
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.|
|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.|
|Details||In addition to the directory, site users can also access mental health resources and workbooks.|
Mental Health Screeners
|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.|
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.|
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|
|Details||Also offers chat and a crisis text line|
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|
|Details||Trained counselors and volunteers answer the Crisisline|
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.|
|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.|
|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.|
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:
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.
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.
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.
Reviewed By: Karen Luu
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.
Reviewed By: Angelique Geehan
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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