Refugees and migrants often experience traumatic events. In some cultures, mental health isn’t explicitly or openly discussed; it’s only through encouragement and understanding that our community can foster healthy minds and bodies. Below is a list of reliable mental health resources in the Greater Boston that have experience in working with refugee and migrant populations.
Boston Medical’s Center for Refugee and Human Rights
The Immigrant & Refugee Health Program provides comprehensive primary care services to immigrant and refugee patients through our practice at the Shapiro Center at Boston Medical Center. The team of clinicians takes care of general healthcare needs through regular check-ups, immunizations, and screenings, as well as providing care for illnesses and injuries. Also, if needed, the team will coordinate patient care with specialist for a more serious health issue.
Foreign and sign language interpreters are available to help patients communicate with the staff. The practice provides on-site interpreters and over the phone interpreters for more than 30 languages. If a patient needs an interpreter, they should tell a member of the staff when schedule an appointment. Also, the Program offers access to psychiatric and case management support to provide support and care for the wide range of needs of patients.
The Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC):
The Refugee & Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC), formerly known as the Somali Women And Children’s Association, was founded in 1993. We are a community-based, non-profit, grassroots human service agency that provides comprehensive services to refugees, asylees, and immigrants as well as the larger community. Our services include refugee resettlement, asylee case management, counseling, outreach and education, and other social services.
RIAC’s mission is to promote cultural, educational, and socioeconomic development in the refugee and immigrant community. To realize our mission, RIAC offers the following range of services to support successful resettlement and to promote self-sufficiency:
Refugee Resettlement,Post-Resettlement Support Service, Community Education & Outreach, Counseling Services
Current programs include:
- Refugee Resettlement: RIAC resettled over 125 refugees from different countries including Somalia, Vietnam, Burma, Congo, Burundi and Iraq in Worcester and greater Boston in fiscal year 2009-2010.
- Post-Resettlement Services: RIAC case workers assist with green card and citizenship applications, translation/interpretation for our clients, aiding our clients’ adjustment to life in the US, and other services as needed. RIAC also makes referrals for services not available at our offices.
- Community Education: RIAC hosts events and forums in order to educate our clients and others from the wider community about a range of subjects that RIAC deems to be of critical importance to the community. Topics covered have included: HIV prevention, domestic violence awareness, mental health stigmas, and issues during the teenage years.
- Social Adjustment Services: Staff provides outreach and support to Somali children in the Boston public schools. RIAC provides support, education and training to parents and teachers, and to families who seek help learning about the United States and adjusting to life here. RIAC also organizes summer programs for youth.
- Provider training: RIAC staff offer training to advocates and caseworkers from hospitals, courts, community agencies and police departments who work with African-Muslim victims of domestic violence. More than 801 individuals from throughout the state attended our training in fiscal year 2009-2010.
- Community Counseling: RIAC Community Counseling Services is community-based mental health and social support agency created to serve the unique needs of refugees and immigrants. Our multi-cultural and multi-lingual clinical staffs have expertise in refugee and immigrant mental health issues as well as deep understanding of the cultural needs of the populations we serve.
Immigrant and Refugee Health Programs (IRHP)
Chelsea is home to immigrants and refugees from Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Central Africa, and countries in Central America – refugees who have experienced trauma, witnessed violence and war, were born and/or lived in refugee camps with limited resources, and had very limited health care access and educational support. Given their experience, immigrants and refugees may arrive in the U.S. with a range of health or psychosocial needs and the IRHP helps them connect to primary, specialty care, and other needed services and resources.The Refugee Health Assessment: MGH is a designated refugee health assessment site since 2001, and the program receives funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. MGH Chelsea provides comprehensive health assessments for newly-arriving refugees and asylees to identify and provide the health and psycho-social services that they need.
The new Central American immigrants’ initiative targets children, adolescents and adults patients newly arrived from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and ensures that they get connected to primary care and other needed health services, helps children enroll in school and connects new immigrants with psycho-social needs to available resources at MGH and in the community.
The Immigrant and Refugee School initiative: Bridges the cultural and academic gaps for newly arrived immigrant and refugee children. The program coordinator orients new immigrants and refugees on academic expectations while teaching social skills to ensure positive interactions with school personnel. The coordinator works to empower immigrant and refugee parents to be academic advocates for their children and motivates students to successfully complete high school and attend post-secondary schools. The coordinator also links families to the MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center to help meet the students’ health needs.
Tatiana Schettini, LCSW Phone: 617-887-4224
Low cost Providers:
Brookline Community Mental Health Center: This organization offers a wide range of mental health services, including therapy for adults and children, home- and school-based counseling, crisis intervention, outreach to the homeless, and more. The bulk of its clients qualify as low- or moderate-income, and it provides 10,000 free or reduced-cost visits each year.
41 Garrison Road, Brookline, 617-277-8107, brooklinecenter.org.
Catholic Charities: At its Family Counseling and Guidance Center in Danvers, Catholic Charities of Massachusetts operates a professional and accessible mental health clinic, with satellite sites elsewhere in the Boston area. Catholic Charities also offers refugee, elder, family, youth, interpreter, and shelter support services.
152 Sylvan St., Danvers, 978-774-6820, ccab.org.
Community Legal Services and Counseling Center: In addition to affordable mental health resources, this Cambridge group provides free family, immigration, housing, and disability law assistance. As far as mental health, it offers psychotherapy, refugee and immigrant support, and job coaching for as little as $5 per visit. Some clients may even qualify for pro bono care.
Fenway Health: Along with traditional one-on-one behavioral therapy, Fenway Health sponsors an array of support groups that are free to attend. While these sessions do not employ formal psychotherapy, they provide valuable community and aid. There are groups for men living with HIV, LGBTQ people who have experienced abuse, and more.
Locations vary, 617-927-0900, fenwayhealth.org.
Maria Droste Counseling Services: With help from Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Maria Droste offers mental health, substance abuse, and holistic counseling on a sliding pay scale. Fees are determined based on each individual patient’s ability to pay.
1354 Hancock St., Quincy, 617-471-5686, mariadrostecounseling.com.
Samaritans: If you need help fast, call Samaritans at 877-870-4673. The free 24/7 crisis hotline offers non-judgmental support and conversation to callers who are depressed, lonely, or considering suicide.