Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health

Demographic Profile of The U.S. Immigrant and Refugee Population

Immigrants and Refugees in the United States make up a unique subset of the country’s population.  According to 2014 data, The U.S. immigrant population stood at more than 42.4 million, or 13.3 percent, of the total U.S. population of 318.9 million.  Of this population, immigrants in the United States and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 81 million people, or 26 percent of the overall U.S. population (Zong, & Batalova, 2016).  Out of this large number of immigrants to the United States, 48 percent of the foreign-born population in 2014 reported their race as white, 46 percent of immigrants reported having Hispanic or Latino origins, 26 percent as Asian, 9 percent as black, and 15 percent as some other race, and more than 2 percent reported having two or more races (Zong, & Batalova, 2016).  Furthermore, in 2014, 17.5 million children ages 18 and younger lived with at least one immigrant parent, which accounts for 25 percent of the 69.9 million children under age 18 in the United States  (Zong, & Batalova, 2016).  Thus, it is estimated that, by the year 2020, one in three children below the age of 18 will be the child of an immigrant (Working with Immigrant-Origin Clients, 2013). Thus, with the increases in immigrant and refugee populations to the U.S. over the years, the country continues to diversify.  A breakdown of the growth in immigrant populations within the U.S. is outlined in the table below.

Numerical Size and Share of the Foreign-Born Population in the United States, 1970-2014

Resource Organizations » Immigrant/Refugee Mental Health » Medway

In Massachusetts

Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights


We are situated within Boston Medical Center and we embrace its’ mission to provide exceptional care without exception.  We also honor the importance of community as a vehicle of healing and recovery.

Utilizing an innovative, holistic approach we work with survivors of torture and refugee communities from around the world to provide vital care for a healthy body, mind, and soul.

Our Mission is to provide holistic health care coordinated with social services and legal aid for asylum seekers, refugees, survivors of torture, and their families.


We also train professionals to serve this population, conduct research to understand and implement best-practices, and promote health and human rights, locally and globally, to improve the quality of life for survivors of torture and their communities.

Boston Language Institute



More than 55,000 students and professionals have studied English as a Second Language and over 140 foreign languages at the Boston Language Institute. Drawing on the Institute's TEFL Certificate Program, we employ the most modern methods in the field of language acquisition. Through the Communicative Method, which views each aspect of language learning -- grammar, conversation, reading and writing -- as a necessary support for the others, students learn new vocabulary and grammar while enhancing their English communication skills in a discussion-based and interactive class. Class themes focus on high-interest topics that present language in context and stimulate conversation. Translation and interpretation services are also available.

Catholic Charities, Community Interpreter Services

(617) 268-9670


Community interpreter services (CIS) program recruits and trains interpreters to help bridge gaps in communication for limited English-proficient clients. We dispatch interpreters to state agencies, hospitals, schools, and businesses and provide document translation. The CIS network includes more than 100 trained, professional interpreters who, collectively, are fluent in over 70 languages.

Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology



This organization is an APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship training program and a post-doctoral fellowship program for psychology interns and fellows. The program's primary mission has always been and remains focused on training ethnic minority and other cross-cultural oriented psychologists to work with inner-city, low income and racially/ethnically diverse populations.

Haitian American Public Health Initiative


HAPHI was founded in 1989 by a group of Haitian-American health care professionals to address pressing public health issues confronting Boston's Haitian community. It is a non-profit agency dedicated to providing members of the Haitian-American community in Metro Boston with culturally and linguistically accessible information and services to improve their health and wellbeing.

Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma



The Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma (HPRT), originally founded at the Harvard School of Public Health, is a multi-disciplinary program that has been pioneering the health and mental health care of traumatized refugees and civilians in areas of conflict/post-conflict and natural disasters for over two decades. Its clinical program serves as a global model that has been replicated worldwide. HPRT designed and implemented the first curriculum for the mental health training of primary care practitioners in settings of human conflict, post-conflict, and natural disasters. Its training activities have been successfully conducted in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, Croatia, Japan, and the United States. HPRT’s landmark scientific studies have demonstrated the medical and mental health impact of mass violence as well as the cultural effectiveness of its clinical treatment and training programs. Working closely with Ministries of Health throughout the world, HPRT has developed community-based mental health services primarily in existing local primary health care systems. It has also successfully established linkages to major foreign university settings. HPRT’s bicultural partnerships with international collaborators have resulted in culturally effective and sustainable programs that rely primarily on local human resources and indigenous healing systems. In order to achieve its mission, memorandums of agreements have been signed between HPRT and universities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Japan, and Thailand. As a university-wide program, HPRT has access to the full resources and talents of Harvard University, including the Medical School (HMS), the School of Public Health, the School of Education, and the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). HPRT is currently administered by MGH, one of America’s oldest and most prestigious hospitals, which is a major teaching hospital of HMS.

International Institute of Boston



The International Institute of Boston provides newcomers with direct and practical assistance in the form of English & literacy courses, Refugee Resettlement services, Citizenship Education, Economic Development, Employment Training & Placement, Legal Aid and Social Services.

Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center

617-858-6114 (M-F 10am-6pm)


The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) is operated by the Muslim American Society of Boston, and provides a range of services. This includes housing a mosque, a school, as well as being available to both the Muslim and non-Muslim members of the community to provide education and outreach about the Muslim faith. The ISBCC also provides social services such as assistance in getting health insurance, finding health care providers and finding mental health supports in addition to consulting with the Imam.

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition


The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) is the largest organization in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees. We serve the Commonwealth's one million foreign-born residents with policy analysis and advocacy, institutional organizing, training and leadership development, strategic communications, citizenship assistance, and AmeriCorps initiatives that provide capacity-building for community-based organizations. The Coalition involves an active membership of over 130 organizations, including community-based groups, social service organizations, ethnic associations, schools, refugee resettlement agencies, health centers, hospitals, religious institutions, unions and law firms, as well as thousands of individual members, contributors, and allies.

New Bostonians



The purpose of the Office of New Bostonians is to strengthen the ability of immigrants and the diverse cultural and linguistic communities of which they are a part to fully participate in the economic, civic, social and cultural life of the City of Boston. Our goal is to make sure immigrants have the same access to services that all residents enjoy. 

Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC)



RIAC provides cultural and linguistically appropriate services to refugees, asylees and immigrants in the greater Boston Area such as interpretation services, domestic violence prevention, resettlement and placement programs and citizenship programs.

Refugee and Immigrant Support Services


The counseling staff and volunteers at CLSACC come together to help people who may have lived through painful experiences in their home country or may be having difficulty adjusting to the United States. We provide specialized services for survivors of torture, victims of crime, and individuals affected by war and other types of human rights violations.

Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center


The Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC) recognizes that refugees have unique health needs. We are dedicated to improving the well-being of refugees by providing tools, resources, and support for health and mental health providers in order to better meet the needs of refugees in resettlement




Saheli, Friendship for South Asian Women is a group dedicated to helping South Asian women in Boston and surrounding areas. Saheli provides friendship, support, guidance and resources in the areas of career and economic empowerment, physical and mental health, legal and immigration issues, support for families, and social and cultural volunteer opportunities.

Second Generation Connections and Resources

508-875-8101 (Lillian Fox)


Second Generation Connections and Resources provides a setting for discussion and learning, as well as a location to seek helpful resources. Second Generation Connections and Resources provides an ongoing supportive/educational discussion group for children of Holocaust survivors. Discussion group topics include: sharing, learning and understanding about your family's or relative's experiences, understanding the impact of family experiences on yourself, your personal experiences and your life, learning from historical perspectives, informing and teaching the next generation, dealing with any concerns or needs you may have, and seeking helpful resources and information.

Outside Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

Survivors of Torture International

1-888-724-7240, 619-278-2400 (Office)

This organization works with the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at 1-888-724-7240. It is confidential and free of charge, the line is immediately answered 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and can assist in 150 languages within seconds. The goal of this organization is to:

  • Facilitate the healing of torture survivors and their families;
  • Educate professionals and the public about torture and its consequences;
  • Advocate for the abolition of torture.

Organizations without hotlines

America's Literacy Directory


A free website that enables immigrants to find local citizenship, civics, and/or English as a Second Language (ESL) classes (searchable by zip code) in communities nationwide.

Center for Victims of Torture



The Center for Victims of Torture works toward a future in which torture ceases to exist and its victims have hope for a new life. We are an international nonprofit dedicated to healing survivors of torture and violent conflict. We provide direct care for those who have been tortured, train partners around the world who can prevent and treat torture, and advocate for human rights and an end to torture.

Cultural Orientation Resource (COR) Center

The Cultural Orientation Resource (COR) Center focuses on a critical element of refugee resettlement and integration, providing technical assistance regarding the orientation refugee groups receive about their new lives in the United States, either before their departure for the U.S. or after their arrival. The organization offers online materials to help refugess adjust to their new life in the United States. These resources are available in multiple languages.

This organizations offers a wide array of resources to survivors of torture throughout the Unities States. This includes immigrants and refugees. Resources are available for providers on related topics as well. 

International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect


The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect is a multidisciplinary international organization that brings together a worldwide cross-section of committed professionals to work toward the prevention and treatment of child abuse, neglect and exploitation globally. ISPCAN's mission is to prevent cruelty to children in every nation, in every form: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, street children, child fatalities, child prostitution, children of war, emotional abuse and child labor. ISPCAN is committed to increasing public awareness of all forms of violence against children, developing activities to prevent such violence, and promoting the rights of children in all regions of the world.

National Center for Refugee Employment and Self-Sufficiency



Working in partnership with service providers and employers nationwide, we are committed to helping refugees achieve economic self-sufficiency. Higher offers an array of free on-line training modules that will help prepare new Americans who are seeking work or looking to advance in their careers.  Training topics cover how to find and keep a job, how to prepare for a job interview, and what to expect in the U.S. workplace. 

National Partnership for Community Training



The National Partnership for Community Training (NPCT) is a technical assistance program funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement that supports refugee providers throughout the United States. Our provider objective is to build capacity in refugee mental health for providers to effectively screen, refer, assist, and service refugees' mental health issues and to continue growing formal and nontraditional mental health service provision. By leveraging the internal expertise of our Refugee Youth Program and the Florida Center for Survivors of Toture within Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, to promote best and promising practices in service provision, NCPT provides TA opportunities focused on national and regional issues.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services


TDD for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing: TTY / ASCII: 800-877-8339, Voice: 866-377-8642

Video Relay Service (VRS): 877-709-5798

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website has location and filing information for immigration benefits, including political asylum. Free immigration forms may be downloadable or filed from this site. Case status information for cases pending with USCIS may be obtained.