local organization provides free mental health services

The Clinical Director of La Familia Counseling Center discusses the various counseling services offered by the organization.


May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month to raise awareness of mental health issues and help reduce stigma. Jessie Armenta, Clinical Director of La Familia Counseling Center in Sacramento, discusses the various counseling services offered by the organization.

“I like to call us a one-stop shop where there’s no wrong door, and whoever walks through the door will be helped and if we’re not able to help, we’ll direct you to the right people,” said Armenta.

The agency was established over 46 years ago and offers a variety of mental health services, including counseling for children and young people aged zero to 21, as well as adults.

The agency is also committed to providing mental health resources to Hispanic and Latino communities in Sacramento. According to American Psychiatric AssociationHispanics and Latinos face many barriers to accessing mental health care, including:

• Absence of insurance or inadequate insurance

• Lack of knowledge/awareness of mental health issues and available services

• Cultural stigma associated with mental illness

• Lack of culturally appropriate services and culturally competent mental health professionals

• Shortage of bilingual or language-trained mental health professionals

• Difficulties recognizing emerging signs of mental illness

• Problems identifying psychiatric symptoms when the main complaint is a somatic symptom

To help alleviate some of these barriers, mental health professionals at La Familia Counseling Center offer tailored services to Hispanic and Latino communities.

“We can provide services in English to children and we can communicate with parents in Spanish,” Armenta said. “If you are looking for adult services, we have Spanish speaking therapists who will work with you.”

The center also has a program called Support community connections (SCC), which connects Hispanic and Latino communities to different resources such as support groups, senior companion groups, events and suicide prevention training.

On Tuesday, May 24, there was a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that left people across the country mourning the lives lost, mostly Hispanic and Latino children. Armenta says their hearts go out to the families who have been affected.

“What I would like to say is there’s no shame in asking for help, there’s no shame in asking for help,” Armenta said.

If you’re feeling sad, lonely, or desperate, she encourages Sacramento-area residents to seek help from the local nonprofit.

“All of our services are free, we don’t charge,” Armenta said.

Everyone is welcome to access counseling services at La Familia Counseling Centre. To learn more, you can visit their website or call their office at (916) 210-8773.

Look: How to talk to kids about school shootings: tips from UC Davis clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Angela