local organization provides free mental health services

The clinical director at La Familia Counseling Center discusses the different counseling services the organization offers.


May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month to raise awareness about mental health issues and help reduce the stigma. Jessie Armenta, the clinical director at La Familia Counseling Center in Sacramento, discusses the different counseling services the organization offers. 

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

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

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

• Lack of insurance or inadequate insurance 

• Lack of knowledge/awareness about mental health problems and services available 

• Cultural stigma associated with mental illness 

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

• Shortage of bilingual or linguistically trained mental health professionals 

• Difficulties recognizing incipient signs of mental illness 

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

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

“We can provide English services for the children, and we can communicate with the parents in Spanish,” Armenta said. “If you’re looking for adult services, we have Spanish-speaking therapists that will work with you.”  

The center also has a program called Supporting Community Connections (SCC), which connects the Hispanic and Latin 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 grieving the lives lost, mostly Hispanic and Latin children. Armenta says their heart goes out to the families who were affected. 

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

If you are feeling sad, lonely, or hopeless, she encourages people in the Sacramento area to seek support through the local non-profit organization. 

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

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

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

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