Mental Health Basics

Leaving your country and building a new home is hard. Newcomers also may have been through traumatic experiences like war, poverty, and loss. Children of immigrants can also have stress. Telling your story and getting mental health services can help. However, cost or feelings of shame can make it hard to get help.

Good mental health allows us to grow, deal with stress, and have happy relationships. Therapy can help.

AllyNetwork has mental health information and a list of mental health providers for immigrants, refugees, and asylees. Take a look at AllyNetwork’s list to find help near you.

Below are questions people often ask:

I think I am having a mental health problem, what should I do?

  • If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Counselors can help 24/7 and translation is available. 
  • Lifeline ofrece 24/7, gratuito servicios en español, no es necesario hablar ingles si usted necesita ayuda. Cuando usted llama al número 1-888-628-9454, su llamada se dirige al centro de ayuda de nuestra red disponible más cercano.
  • It can help to talk with others who have had similar stories. Ask your mental health professional about support groups or peer support. You can also call to talk with someone who will offer support: 
    • Teen Line: text “TEEN” to 839863 between 6 PM to 9 PM Pacific Time for support from teens for teens. Available in English only.
    • The Peer -Run Warm Line: call 855-845-7415 for peer -run non-emergency emotional support. Available in English only.
    • The Friendship Line California: older adults can call for free crisis support for non-emergency emotional support. Call 1-888-670-1360. Available in English only.
  • If you need continued support AllyNetwork helps newcomers find mental health services in Alameda County. Search AllyNetwork’s list of providers to find one for you.


I looked through the AllyNetwork list. How do I choose the right therapist?


I don’t live in Alameda County, where can I get help?

  • AllyNetwork helps newcomers from Alameda County find support. However, many of the providers also help people in other areas. Call the therapist to find out if they help people from your area.
  • For more resources to find providers take a look at this list from our partner PsyberGuide.


Is there a way to make therapy more affordable?

  • Try an app-based program, group therapy, or getting support at a clinic that works with a university training program to train new therapists. AllyNetwork lists therapists who like working with immigrants and newcomers. Many offer help at a lower fee. To find those ones, check the box for “no cost” or “low cost” when searching. We also have many therapists who take MediCal.
  • Many therapists will lower their rate for people who might not be able to pay in full (this is called a “sliding scale”). Some therapists will also offer help at no cost (this is sometimes called “pro-bono”). It is okay to ask the therapist about these options.


Will the therapist tell anyone about what we talk about?

  • Having a safe and private space to talk is one of the reasons people go to a professional therapist. Mental health professionals have to protect your information. However there are three exceptions to know.
  • If you are under the age of 18, your legal rights are a little different from adults. Your rights as a parent depend on the age of your child and the reasons that they came to  therapy. Your therapist should answer any questions you have about privacy in your first meeting.