TThe COVID-19 pandemic worsening mental health across the board in the US, but people of color, who disproportionately suffered the worst effects of COVID-19 and have historically lacked adequate access to mental health care, were especially hard hit. one 2022 to study found that black, Hispanic, and Asian adults in the US “showed much worse mental health during the pandemic compared to before the pandemic,” while white adults experienced a less steep decline.
However, white Americans are much more likely to receive professional mental health care. Many barriers prevent people of color from receiving this type of help, including financial and insurance limitations, a persistent stigma of seeking help for these issues in many communities of color, and barriers to finding a therapist with a similar cultural background.
Here are some organizations working to bridge that gap.
National Network of Trans and Queer Therapists of Color
the National Network of Trans and Queer Therapists of Color is a national organization that provides a directory of hundreds of gay and trans therapists of color. The organization, which was founded by therapist Erica Woodland in 2016, hopes to make it easier for queer and trans people of color to find mental health professionals. The organization also manages the Mental Health Fund for Black, Indigenous, and Queer and Trans People of Color, launched in 2017, which has raised nearly $50,000 that has been distributed to “primarily black, trans and non-binary people” for their therapy needs, says Woodland. Fund applicants can request up to $100 per session for up to six sessions with a therapist.
Asian Mental Health Project
Carrie Zhang created the Asian Mental Health Project in 2017 after noticing the lack of resources dedicated to Asian mental health. The organization educates and empowers Pan-Asian communities to seek mental health services by hosting mostly virtual wellness events, weekly check-ins that double as support groups, and workshops with speakers. The group has also started fundraising for a mental health fund through which the organization hopes to provide 25 people facing financial hardship with a $500 stipend to pursue mental health or wellness services.
read more: How 988 will transform the American approach to mental health
“We anticipate that people will use that money to find a therapist or to pay for their co-pays for therapy, but we also recognize that when it comes to mental health and wellness, it’s more than just therapy,” says Jennifer Tarm, director of partnerships at the organization. Acupuncture and other holistic modes of healing may also qualify.
HealHaus Therapy Fund
the HealHaus Therapy Fund, started by Brooklyn-based wellness center HealHaus, was created in 2021 to provide one-on-one talk therapy to Black, Native American, and People of Color (BIPOC); So far, 50 people have benefited from the fund. The ultimate goal of the fund is to offer eight weeks of free therapy to 100 people. “Therapy can be expensive and is considered a luxury for most,” says Darian Hall, co-founder of HealHaus. “Many insurance companies don’t cover therapy services, so this was a way to introduce therapy to those who may never have had it.”
Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund
the Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund was created in 2018 with a focus on black girls, women, and non-binary people seeking therapy. The fund covers up to 12 sessions for its beneficiaries, and since it began it has already provided 72,000 hours of therapy. The Loveland Foundation also runs free support groups, which provide tools to navigate the challenges associated with mental illness in communities of color. “We are working to provide equitable access to therapy and de-stigmatize mental health within our community,” says Hannah Tall, director of programs for the Loveland Foundation.
therapy for black girls
Psychologist Joy Harden Bradford started Therapy for Black Girls as a mental health blog in 2014, and by 2017, it had evolved to include a popular podcast and a therapist directory of predominantly black therapists. Today, more than 5,000 therapists are on the list. “There is still a tone of stigma related to mental health in the black community,” says Harden Bradford. “When people are considering therapy, one of the things that often makes them feel most comfortable is getting an appointment with a therapist who is like them.”
Therapy for Latinx
Therapy for Latinx, which launched in 2018, offers a directory of around 500 therapists who specialize in topics relevant to the Latinx community. Founder Brandie Carlos came up with the idea after having trouble finding a therapist to help her cope with the suicide of a friend of hers. While she found other directories for people of color, she didn’t find anything specific to the Latinx community, so she created one herself. “If I was having a hard time finding a therapist,” says Carlos, “I knew other people in my community were too.”
If you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health crisis or contemplating suicide, call or text 988. In emergencies, call 911 or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.
More must-read stories from TIME