Despite Harvey Grant Money, Providers Can’t Find Bilingual Counselors

More counselors who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, or Farsi are needed

As demand for mental health care in Houston has grown over the past year, providers say the lack of bilingual counselors has become more apparent.

After Hurricane Harvey, care providers thought an influx of grant money would help them hire more bilingual counselors, specifically who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, or Farsi.

“That would have been the same six months earlier or a year earlier, but the funds weren’t there so it’s really brought that issue to light,” said Alejandra Posada, Chief Program Officer at Mental Health America Houston.

Often, counselors will have to conduct sessions through an interpreter over a phone call.

Posada says the issue extends to outreach as well — information, like brochures on mental health care, are not readily available in languages besides English and Spanish.

She says right now, organizations like hers are focused on getting more bilingual students in the pipeline to become counselors.



Davis Land

Senior Producer

Davis Land is a senior producer at Houston Public Media. He cut his teeth at Atlantic Public Media in Woods Hole, MA and at WBUR in Boston. His work has appeared on various public radio programs and podcasts including Texas Standard, Here and Now, and Marketplace. Davis is a graduate...

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