The Undocumented Student Program is committed to students’ physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.

We believe that the barriers undocumented, first generation, and/or low-income students face helps weave the fabric of their resilience and courage. We also recognize that at times, these experiences and obligations place additional strain that may impact mood, motivation, self-esteem, relationships, and overall well-being. In addition, stress related to xenophobia/racism, deportation fears, finances/ employment, and identity concerns can make it hard to find balance.

Our mental health support program provides a confidential space for undocumented students to be seen by a licensed therapist who will collaborate with them on an individual wellness plan. Support varies by each student’s need including: one-time drop-in consultation, crisis management, on-going sessions, and connection to other campus resources.

Meet the USP Psychologists

Diana Peña (she/they), PhD, is a queer Latinx mental health provider and licensed psychologist who began her academic journey in her hometown of Los Angeles, CA as a first-gen college student. Diana coordinates the mental health program for undocumented students at UC Berkeley, providing counseling support to students and consultation to the campus at large.  Her areas of focus include undocumented student mental health, resilience among queer and trans people of color, spirituality, and somatic/body-centered healing practices. Diana stands on the shoulders of her Mexican immigrant parents and is committed to decolonizing mental health practices in the service of undocumented, Indigenous, Black, and POC communities. She invites you to join her on this journey.

Bianca Barrios earned her PhD as a first-generation college student form Washington State University’s Counseling Psychology program. Bianca grew up in Los Angeles County with a mixed status extended family. As a licensed psychologist, her areas of focus include students of color and undocumented/immigrant student college adjustment and persistence, Latinx mental health, LGBTQ affirmative therapy, and women’s concerns. She possesses an unwavering commitment to social justice and advocacy. When working with students she aims to co-create a space built on trust and compassion where students can feel comfortable bringing in all parts of themselves to begin the process of exploration, learning, and healing.

Services Provided

Drop-in (aka Let’s Talk) is an informal brief consultation with one of our licensed mental health providers. Attending drop-in does not mean you have agreed to enter formal counseling or psychotherapy. The consult could be problem solving, questions about counseling, and/or setting up a future appointment, among other things. To sign up for a Virtual Let’s Talk appointment with Bianca or Diana, go to wejoinin.com/USPmentalhealth and click on the “USP Mental Health Drop-In” sheet.
Scheduled Appointments: To schedule a counseling appointment outside of drop-in hours, call one of our confidential phone numbers and leave a voicemail with your name and SID:
Bianca Barrios, PhD – (510) 664-5342
Diana Peña, PhD – (510) 664-7483

Crisis and Urgent Support:

  • If you’re in crisis or your have urgent needs, help is available at the Tang Center on a drop-in basis : Monday – Friday, 10am-5pm.
  • For urgent mental Health concerns when CAPS is closed:
    • Call the Student After Hours Counseling Line at 855-817-5667
    • Find a local emergency room. The closest to campus is Alta Bates Hospital, 2450 Ashby Ave., just east of Telegraph Ave.
    • Non-University affiliated crisis/suicide prevention hotlines:
      • Crisis Support Services of Alameda County (800) 309-2131
      • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (8255)
      • Or see more resources on our emergency community page
    • Information on suicide prevention

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FAQs

Mental health counseling at USP and CAPS is always free. USP supports undocumented students with additional mental health costs, such as:

  • Psychiatry evaluations, appointments, and labs

  • Off-campus ADHD assessments

  • Psychiatric medications
  • Off-campus therapy co-pays: Mental Health Refund Application

People often wonder if their concerns are “big enough” to warrant counseling. The truth is, people talk about many different types of things. See below for some common ones, and if you’re still not sure, come ask!:

    • career concerns

    • discrimination and race-based stress

    • depression

    • anxiety (worrying, panic attacks, social, phobias, test anxiety)

    • academic stress

    • stress associated with deportation/family legal status

    • “coming out” as undocumented

    • The political climate

    • migration trauma

    • procrastination/decreased motivation

    • questioning or exploring sexual orientation or gender

    • concerns about family or community

    • burnout from political/social action

    • relationship conflicts

    • food or body image concerns

    • anger management

    • coping with chronic illness or being disabled

    • and many others

All sessions are confidential and protected by privacy laws. University staff, faculty, law enforcement officials, parents, potential employers, and others have no access to any of your records without your written permission. Please note, your counselor is a mandatory reporter and may have an ethical and legal obligation to break confidentiality if you are a threat to harm yourself or others, or if current abuse of a child or elder is suspected. Feel free to ask if you have questions or concerns about confidentiality.

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