ILLINOIS: Countering the Stigma of Mental Health in Chicago’s Immigrant Communities

March 15, 2019

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Announcement
Speaker:  Illinois

Chicago Health

Nonprofit organizations are working to support the mental health of Chicago’s immigrant communities. To help immigrants and refugees transition to life in a new country, the Iraqi Mutual Aid Society (IMAS) provides support services that bridge language and cultural gaps. For example, it runs a support group where women learn practical skills for navigating American life and discuss issues related to well-being and safety. IMAS also partners with Apna Ghar, a nonprofit that offers counseling, housing assistance, and support services to immigrants who have experienced gender-based violence. The organization takes a culturally competent approach to mental health care by basing it on the beliefs, values, and needs of each client. Counseling is offered in a client’s native language and takes into account socio-economic sources of stress, said Apna Ghar counselor Sara Heidbreder.

Spark Extra! Read about culturally competent approaches to suicide prevention.