At the AAKOMA Project, we envision a world where EVERY child, teen, and young adult (inclusive of all points of diversity) feels the freedom to live unapologetically and authentically within an environment that allows them to rise and thrive.
Build the consciousness of Youth of Color and their caregivers on the recognition and importance of mental health, empowering youth and their families to seek help and manage mental health and influence systems and services to receive and address the needs of Youth of Color and their families.
The AAKOMA Project is all about generating knowledge in COLLABORATION with the BIPOC communities we serve. An example of this is from our study titled “Building Capacity and Reducing Barriers to the Inclusion of Underserved Black Youth and Families for Behavioral and Mental Health Patient Centered Outcomes Research.”
With a budget of just under $75,000 USD, we conducted focus groups and learned from youth ages 11-18 and adults some of their perceptions of mental health and religion in the Black community. Using qualitative methods, we identified a theme in the messages we heard which we labeled as: MENTAL HEALTH/ILLNESS AS TABOO/SOURCE OF STIGMA.
“But then there’s the stigma of you’re a Christian so how in the world do you even have depression or how in the world are you not managing it, why do you need medications. Then it became, okay, you’re Black so you’re strong. You should be able to handle it and you shouldn’t even need to talk to people, or you shouldn’t need to go there, or you shouldn’t have to have these feelings in the first place because black people are strong people.”
— Teen AAKOMA Project Study Participant
We are looking for the next group of passionate intersectional BIPOC teens to help guide our program, thus enabling us to ensure that the messages we convey and the treatments we propose resonate deeply with all young people.Learn more