by Naveen Kassamali, LMFT
“If I could say anything to immigrants who are struggling with their mental health, I would want them to know that they are not alone and they can find a community with people who are going through similar things'' said Sara Anba, who is a part of ’s Student Ambassador program. Sara is referring to the cultural barriers that hinder minorities from seeking help.
According to the , one of the reasons minority groups don’t seek out mental health care is stigma. Other reasons include lack of insurance, lack of access to appropriate care, and a critical deficiency of studies pertaining to nonwhite populations. It is clear that there is a need for cultural competence by including culturally mindful services.
Aliza Lopez is also part of Neolth’s Student Ambassador Program. She shared that, “Whether it is by understanding the circumstances that the immigrant has been raised in or professional proficiency in their native tongue, cultural competency is critical and ethical.”
reports that minorities in the United States are less likely than caucasians to to seek mental health services. They are also less likely to receive the best available treatments for depression and anxiety. When looking for mental health treatment, it is important to feel connected to your therapist, and to find someone who can understand your specific experiences and concerns. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. This is why Neolth is a great resource for students who are having trouble finding a therapist or community that can relate to their experiences.
Student Ambassadors at Neolth established the to share their experiences and advocate for improvements. This group consists of 20 high school, undergraduate and graduate students from throughout the country. They meet virtually to discuss culture and mental health in a community setting. Dr. Katherine Grill, Neolth’s CEO, felt that it was important to support this effort: “There are challenges these students face, whether it’s financial, cultural or an intense pressure to succeed. There are limited resources for them, so having peer support is crucial.”
This subcommittee is free and open to any students who participate in Neolth’s Student Ambassador Program. Beyond group conversations, the subcommittee hosts guest speakers and creates educational blog and social media content. Led by , a student from the Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, this subcommittee has been active since September 2020.
For immigrant or first-gen students navigating mental health who need words of encouragement, Nadine says, “You know what you need more than you might think! Advocate for yourself, have conversations with your loved ones, seek out resources that work for you. You deserve support and know that you don’t have to go through it alone.” Students can get support through joining Neolth’s free or accessing relaxation practices, expert advice videos, student stories and more on the Neolth or .