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 2016 data, The U.S. immigrant population stood at nearly 44 million million, or 13.5 percent, of the total U.S. population of 323.1 million.  Of this population, immigrants in the United States and their U.S.-born children now number approximately 86.4 million people, or 27 percent of the overall U.S. population (Zong, & Batalova, 2018).  Out of this large number of immigrants to the United States, 46 percent of the foreign-born population in 2016 reported their race as white, 45 percent of immigrants reported having Hispanic or Latino origins, 27 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, 2018).  Furthermore, in 2016, 18 million children ages 18 and younger lived with at least one immigrant parent, which accounts for 26 percent of the 70 million children under age 18 in the United States  (Zong, & Batalova, 2018).  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

chart-foreign-born-population.png

Source: Migration Policy Institute (MPI) tabulation of data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 and 2014 American Community Surveys (ACS), and 1970-2000 decennial Census.

Factors fueling immigration for many include searching for work, reuniting with family members, and seeking humanitarian refuge.  More than 60 million people worldwide have been displaced from their homes fleeing war, violence, risk of persecution, and/or environmental disasters, coming to the U.S. as refugees. (Winerman, 2016; Working with Immigrant-Origin Clients, 2013).  The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act defines a refugee as “a person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.” (Working with Refugee Children and Families, 2009). 

In 2015, 69,933 individuals arrived in the United States as refugees, which is 20 percent higher than the 2012 total (Zong & Batalova, 2015).  Fifty-seven percent of these refugees in 2015 originated from Burma (also known as Myanmar), Iraq, and Somalia.  In addition to these top three countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Bhutan, Iran, Syria, Eritrea, Sudan, and Cuba make up the top ten countries of origin for refugee resettlement in 2015 (Zong & Batalova, 2015). The influx in refugees from various regions around the world that have entered the U.S. recently is demonstrated in the tables below. 

U.S. Refugee Arrivals by Region of Nationality, FY 2003-15

refugee-arrivals-by-nationality.png

Note: Data from the Department of State (DOS) Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System (WRAPS) on refugee arrivals differ slightly from the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics due to a different data counting approach.

Source: MPI analysis of WRAPS data from the DOS Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, available online.


Top Ten Origin Countries of Refugee Arrivals, FY 2013-15

refugees-top-ten-countries.png

Source: MPI analysis of WRAPS data.

More than 40 percent of these refugees are children, many of whom have experienced profound loss and survived devastating events that can impact their development and long-term functioning (Working with Refugee Children and Families, 2009).  For refugees of all ages, the journeys from one’s country of origin is often characterized by long periods of time lacking access to basic needs and are filled with instability and violence.  This is a large contributing factor to numerous mental health challenges that are experienced by immigrants and refugees.

Common Mental Health Challenges Experienced by Immigrants and Refugees

Refugees and immigrants to the U.S. experience unique stresses, prejudice, and poverty.  These individuals and families can be considered at-risk subpopulations for health, emotional, and behavioral problems, and, in the case of children, learning and academic difficulties as well (APA resolution on Immigrant Children, Youth, and Families, 2016). 

Some of the mental-health related issues faced regularly by immigrants and refugees include:

  • Stress associated with the immigration and resettlement process
  • Acculturation to language, economics, health care, education, religion
  • Encounters with both individual and institutional bias, discrimination, and racism
  • Multiple traumatic experiences

Stresses involved in immigration and resettlement experiences can cause or exacerbate mental health difficulties, including anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), somatic complaints, sleep problems, behavioral problems in children, substance abuse, suicidal ideation, and severe mental illness (APA resolution on Immigrant Children, Youth, and Families, 2016; Working with Immigrant-Origin Clients, 2013; Working with Refugee Children and Families, 2009).  These difficult experiences paired with acculturation related issues can exacerbate mental health issues, causing them to become more acute and complex.

Acculturation related issues are often the root of what brings immigrant and refugee individuals and families to treatment.  Acculturation is a multidimensional process that may occur in stages and can be psychological and behavioral.  It refers to the process of adaptation, or lack thereof, which occurs when two cultures come into contact with one another.  This adaptation process is one of the central tasks for immigrants and refugees.  Immigrant and refugee families must learn to function in new cultures and make major adjustments.  Often this process comes with the added burden of finding adequate resources for basic needs.  Adjusting to a new society and managing challenging financial situations can be a particularly difficult experience for highly educated or former professionals from one country of origin who may face difficulties finding employment if their educational background or work experience is not recognized in by the U.S.  This can result in a loss of status, psychological stress, and economic hardship that adds to other relocation difficulties.  This difficulty with acculturation often exacerbates mental health issues as previously described. 

Important markers of acculturation include language(s) spoken, ethnic identity, and the degree to which individuals participate in cultural activities. According to the U.S. Department of Education (2010), 20% of children speak a second language at home.  Parents and children may acculturate at different rates, which is common among resettled refugee and immigrant families.  Children often adapt to new language and cultural norms more quickly than their parents, which can lead to intergenerational misunderstandings, tensions between old and new cultures, and challenges to identity development, family conflict and loss of communication, role reversal, and facing loneliness and isolation (Working with Refugee Children and Families, 2009; Working with Immigrant-Origin Clients, 2013).  Families working to cope with these stressors coupled with immigration trauma can lead to symptoms of depression, suicidal ideation, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and various other mental health concerns.  What is more, the language barrier impacts refugee and immigrant individuals and families’ abilities to receive proper health care.

In addition to acculturation-related difficulties and mental health challenges, traumatic experiences play a large role in immigrant and refugee overall well-being.  Traumatic experiences that can occur at various stages in the immigration and resettlement process place immigrants at risk for mental health problems. This can affect the ways in which these individuals and families adjust to their new cultural context. 

Trauma-based presenting problems include:

  • Migratory trauma, including pre-migration, migration, post-migration, and deportation
  • Interpersonal difficulties and violence
  • Depression, anxiety, PTSD
  • Compromised identification with country of origin, and adopted country
  • Feelings of persecution and distrust of authorities and institutions

Many immigrant and refugee individuals and families will have experienced and survived devastating and profoundly traumatic events.  Not only are they faced with pre- and post-immigration trauma, but the pairing of these adverse experiences with subsequent acculturation issues and other stressors makes for a uniquely complex trauma experience for many immigrants and refugees.  They are in great need of supportive services to promote health and wellbeing after resettlement in the United States, which can address a range of needs, including basic daily living, education, and physical and mental health.

Barriers to Mental Health Services for Immigrants and Refugees

Despite the great need for supportive mental health services, there are often numerous barriers to mental health services for immigrants and refugees.  Some of these barriers include:

  • Differences in symptom expression and attributions as well as conflicting views about the causes of, and ways of coping with, mental health problems
  • Stigma associated with mental health problems
  • Lack of access to appropriate and culturally sensitive mental health services in native languages
  • Lack of access to interpreters (language barriers impact abilities to receive proper health care)
  • Shortage of racial/ethnic minority mental health workers and/or persons trained to work with racial/ethnic minority persons and culturally diverse elders
  • Lack of knowledge of available and existing mental health services and resources (e.g. transportation, insurance, and child care) for accessing services
  • Lack of access to services and culturally competent service providers in rural areas
  • Challenged sense of safety and belonging, and difficulty trusting that systems of care will help them when they are facing mental health challenges
  • Fears related to unauthorized status or to frequent moves in search of work.

Resilience and Strength of Immigrants and Refugees

Despite extreme adversity, great risk for mental health challenges, and barriers to support faced by refugees and immigrants, these individuals and families demonstrate extraordinary resilience and strength.  “Within the framework of war and trauma, resilience is defined as personality traits that help protect against the psychological disorders resulting from exposure to terrifying incidents, such as mass violence or deportation under life-threatening circumstances; it encompasses bouncing back and positive adaptation in the face of safety-challenging experiences” (Arnetz et al.,, 2013).  Many immigrants and refugees display remarkable resilience, survival strategies, coping mechanisms, and abilities to adapt within what are often entirely new and unfamiliar environments.

Arnetz et al., (2013) indicated in their research that refugees are at a substantially increased risk for pre-migration exposure to violence rendering them more vulnerable to war and trauma related mental health disorders, including severe psychological distress, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other acute symptoms.  Additionally, refugees, as compared to immigrants from a similar culture, reported more psychological distress and PTSD symptoms. Regardless of migrant status, however, pre-migration exposure to violence is a significant predictor of both psychological distress and PTSD symptoms. The resilience demonstrated by these individuals- both refugees and immigrants- was a significant protective factor against of psychological distress.

Despite facing many risks such as poverty, discrimination, taxing occupations, fewer years of schooling, and social isolation, immigrants who have recently arrived to the U.S. appear to do better than expected (as compared to those who remain in the country of origin and second-generation immigrants) on a wide range of psychological and behavioral outcomes.  Additionally, research has shown that immigrants today are highly motivated to learn English and do so more quickly than did previous generations.  Furthermore, immigrant and refugee children seem to behaviorally adapt to the U.S. culture quickly.  (Working with Immigrant-Origin Clients, 2013)  Optimism, greater family cohesion, and availability of community supports all contribute to the strength and resilience demonstrated by immigrant and refugee populations.

Resource Organizations » Immigrant/Refugee Mental Health

In Massachusetts

Bosnian Community Center For Resource Development INC.

1 (888) 420-6152

"The Bosnian Community Center for Resource Development (BCCRD Inc.) is a nonprofit agency created in 1998 by a group of former-Yugoslavs and Americans to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to the refugees from the former Yugoslavia who have resettled in the Greater Boston metropolitan area."

 

Offers:

-Translation and Interpreting Project

-Case Management

-Alternatiev Treatment Center/ Mental Health 

-Referrals

Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights

617-414-4794

Situated within Boston Medical Center they embrace its’ mission to provide exceptional care without exception.  The Center also honors the importance of community as a vehicle of healing and recovery.

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

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

 

They 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

617-262-3500

Email: info@bostonlanguage.com

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, they 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

Email: info@ccab.org

Community interpreter services (CIS) program recruits and trains interpreters to help bridge gaps in communication for limited English-proficient clients. They 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

617-414-4646

Email: info@cmmh-cmtp.org

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.

Community legal Services and Counseling Center

617-661-1010

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. They provide specialized services for survivors of torture, victims of crime, and individuals affected by war and other types of human rights violations. 

CLSACC's Center for Global Human Rights and Resilience provides:

  • Psychological evaluations and expert court testimony for asylum, VAWA, U Visa, and cancellation of removal cases
  • Individual counseling and therapy
  • Art therapy group for women who are experiencing social isolation
  • Case management
    • Access to medical care
    • Referral to English and GED classes
    • Referral to employment services
    • Referral to food and clothing resources
    • Access to Victim Compensation "

Haitian American Public Health Initiative

617-298-8076

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

617-876-7879

Email: rmollica@partners.org

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.

Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma

617.876.7879

Email: rmollica@partners.org

"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" 

Immigrant and Refugee Health Programs (IRHP)

617-726-8197

Email: rmollica@partners.org

"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.

The Center for Community Health Improvement's Immigrant and Refugee Health Programs help them connect to primary, specialty care and other needed services and resources. To date, the program has served more than 1,800 newly arrived refugees and more than 300 new immigrants from Central America.   

The Refugee Health Assessment: Massachusetts General Hospital 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 Mass General 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. " 

International Institute of Boston

617-695-9990

Email: info@iine.us

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 Center of Boston, Wayland

1 (508) 358 5885

Email: info@icbwayland.org

"The primary mission of the Islamic Center of Boston is to provide a focus of activities for Muslims living in the Greater Boston area in order for them to organize the religious, educational, and social life of their community in light of the Islamic teachings and traditions. It enables them to make positive, effective, and organized contributions towards the well being and enhancement of the social and cultural environment in which they live. An additional goal of the Islamic Center is to act as an information resource by providing an understanding of Islam as a faith, as a religion, and as a way of life, and by striving to create an awareness of the Islamic point of view on issues of contemporary relevance. In its workings it has been organized as a democratic association of equals; it does not entertain distinctions based on race, color, ethnicity, sectarian affinities, countries of origin and financial standing of its members."

This organization also provides resources for a range of concerns including domestic violence. It has a number of programs including: "Girls Education Matters", "Family Promise Metrowest", "Annual Food Drive", and "Family Matters". 

Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center

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

Email: office@masboston.org

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

617-350-5480

MIRA is the largest coalition in New England promoting the rights and integration of immigrants and refugees. With offices in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, we advance this mission through education and training, leadership development, institutional organizing, strategic communications, policy analysis and advocacy.

MIRA is a dynamic and multi‐ethnic coalition with more than 130 organizational members, including grassroots community organizations; refugee resettlement agencies; providers of social, legal and health services, faith-based organizations and civil and human rights advocates. They organize and empower members and allies, and together they mobilize immigrant communities to advocate for themselves, and amplify and support their voices. MIRA is a respected leader on immigrant issues at the state and national levels, and an authoritative source of information and policy analysis for policymakers, advocates, immigrant communities and the media.

MIRA has worked to secure millions of dollars in state funding for programs that support the social, civic and economic integration of immigrants and refugees. They advocate for progressive policies at the state, local and national levels, and fight to defeat anti-immigrant measures. They have also helped thousands of green card holders to become U.S. citizens, registered thousands of new Americans to vote, and built capacity among our members to provide legal services to immigrants. Through their AmeriCorps New American Integration Program, they support a range of programs to help newcomers to the U.S. learn English and adapt to their new life.

MIRA is also a founding member of the National Partnership for New Americans, which is co-chaired by our Executive Director Eva A. Millona. NPNA represents the collective power and resources of the country’s 37 largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 31 states, and leverages their knowledge and expertise to advance a national strategy.

Now, at this critical time in our country, they want to make Massachusetts a model for how to welcome and integrate people from all around the world. Let’s stand up together for a better, more inclusive America!"

New Bostonians

617-635-2980

Email: immigrantadvancement@boston.gov

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. Their goal is to make sure immigrants have the same access to services that all residents enjoy. 

Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project

617-742-9296

'Formed in 1989, the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project provides free legal services to asylum-seekers and promotes the rights of detained immigrants."

Offers:

-Free legal representation of asylum-seekers & immigration detainees​​​​​

-Referrals to reduced-fee private ​​​​​​​immigration attorneys

Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC)

617-238-2430

Email: riac@riacboston.org

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

617-661-1010

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. They 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

Email: refugeehealthta@jsi.com

The Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC) recognizes that refugees have unique health needs. RHTAC is 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

Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center

617-919-4791

Email: info@icbwayland.org

The Boston Children’s Hospital Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center is dedicated to understanding and promoting the healthy adjustment of refugee children and adolescents who have resettled in the United States. In partnership with refugee communities and agencies, they build prevention and intervention programs, conduct research, and develop resources to assist refugee families and service providers.

What we do:

1. Prevention and Intervention

2.Research

3.Training and Resource Development 

Saheli

866-472-4354

Email: info@saheliboston.org

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)

Email: LFox2GCR@aol.com

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.

The Immigrant Learning Center

(781) 322-9777

"THE IMMIGRANT LEARNING CENTER®, INC. (ILC) OF MALDEN, MA,
IS A NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION THAT GIVES IMMIGRANTS A VOICE IN THREE WAYS:

1. THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROGRAM

provides free, year-round English classes to immigrant and refugee adults in Greater Boston to help them become successful workers, parents and community members.

2. THE PUBLIC EDUCATION INSTITUTE

informs Americans about the economic and social contributions of immigrants in our society.

3. THE INSTITUTE FOR IMMIGRATION RESEARCH

a joint venture with George Mason University, conducts research on the economic contributions of immigrants."

Worcester Refugee Assistance Project

Email: info@worcesterrefugees.org

"WRAP is a network of individuals committed to assisting local refugees from Burma achieve sustainable self‐reliance through mentoring, advocacy and providing material support as needed. Our primary goal is to assist our friends from Burma in attaining economic independence, establishing a true community and learning how to access services. We are an independent non‐profit organization that works to complement and augment the efforts of other organizations and individuals assisting resettled refugees." 

Outside Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

NASEEHA YOUTH HELPLINE

1 (866) 627-3342

905-890-2365

"Naseeha provides an anonymous, non-judgemental, confidential and toll-free peer support helpline to listen to and be there for youth experiencing personal challenges and to support them in working through those challenges. In 2015 Naseeha launched an Education and Outreach program in an effort to promote healthy connections in faith and educational institutions. Our hope is that every young person can thrive by navigating any personal challenges to contribute positively in their community.  Some of the topics we tackle include bullying, mental health and Islamophobia. Our peer support cover topics such as Drugs and Alcohol, Bullying, Religion, Marriage and Divorce, Domestic Issues, Pornography, Mental Health, Bullying, Depression, Career or Work related issues."

 

 

Office of Refugee Settlement

800.203.7001

202.401.9246

"The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) provides new populations with the opportunity to achieve their full potential in the United States. Our programs provide people in need with critical resources to assist them in becoming integrated members of American society." 

Survivors of Torture International

1-888-724-7240, 619-278-2400 (Office)
Email: survivors@notorture.org

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

Email: ald@lincs.ed.gov

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

1-877-265-8775

Email: CVT@CVT.org

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. They are an international nonprofit dedicated to healing survivors of torture and violent conflict. The Center provides 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. 

HealthReach

301-496-1131

Email: healthreachinfo@mail.nlm.nih.gov

'HealthReach is a national collaborative partnership that has created a resource of quality multilingual, multicultural public health information for those working with or providing care to individuals with limited English proficiency. Resources include:

  • Health education materials in various languages and formats (brochures, handouts, audio recordings, and videos).
  • Provider information (reports, toolkits, and fact sheets).
  • Special collections on women’s health, substance abuse, and mental health.

HealthReach offers easy access to quality health information in many languages that healthcare providers can share with LEP individuals. HealthReach is also an important resource for health professionals and public health administrators seeking best practices and population-specific tools, such as cultural backgrounders and tips for effective use of interpreters." 

HealTourture.org

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. 

Immigrant Women and Domestic Violence

1 800 537-2238

"While there are differences in domestic violence experienced by immigrant women, there may be commonalities, such as patterns of abuse, challenges, and barriers to seeking help. Similarly, domestic violence service providers may face common challenges in offering services to immigrant women survivors. These challenges and barriers could be related to the survivors’ immigration status, eligibility for public assistance, cultural practices, English language proficiency, etc. This special collection explores the complex experiences of immigrant survivors and includes resources to support their path to safety and justice. It also includes resources that help service providers respond effectively and appropriately to immigrant women who are experiencing domestic violence." 

International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect

(720)449-6010

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

410-230-6717

Email: information@higheradvantage.org

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

727-479-1800

Email: partnership@gcjfcs.org

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. Their 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 their 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.

The UN Refugee Agency

+41 22 739 8111

"UNHCR has a number of information resources for staff, as well as governments, aid partners, academics and the public. 

The primary purpose at UNHCR is to safeguard the rights and well-being of people who have been forced to flee. Together with partners and communities, they work to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another country. They also strive to secure lasting solutions.

For over half a century, UNHCR has helped millions of people to restart their lives. They include refugees, returnees, stateless people, the internally displaced and asylum-seekers. Their protection, shelter, health and education has been crucial in healing broken pasts and building brighter futures."

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

1-800-375-5283

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.