AAKOMA believes that to meet the mental health needs of Youth of Color, we need to operate at three levels – Raising Consciousness among individuals, Empowering People via providing accessible tools for ongoing management, and Changing Systems to receive youth and provide better care.
Ensure that intersectional Young People of Color are aware of the importance of their mental health and that young people and caregivers have the ability to share, support, and understand young people’s experiences with mental health.
Provide tools and resources for intersectional Young People of Color and their caregivers to manage their own wellbeing and mental health in a timely, accessible, and approachable way and when needed, connect to more formal and/or clinical service offerings for support.
Build a set of systems and services that are equipped to receive intersectional Youth of Color and their caregivers and address their unique needs which will require a qualified workforce, evidence-based set of services and interventions, and an accessible set of supportive resources.
THEORY OF CHANGE
In the current global environment, there is greater awareness and understanding among Youth and Young Adults of Color, their families, and communities about the significance of mental health. The AAKOMA Project acknowledges that Young People of Color, their families and communities require adequate resources to address their mental health needs. As a result, The AAKOMA Project works to guide systems reform and ensure that systems are actively designed to meet the requirements of Young People of Color, their families and communities, through establishing a robust, culturally relevant research and evidence base that informs policy and practice. Our theory of change is founded on the belief that the most effective and sustainable approaches to improving mental health involve understanding the needs of the population of focus, actively collaborating with them to develop solutions, and implementing those solutions via a culturally responsive, community-engaged model. The AAKOMA Project distinguishes itself through our extensive knowledge base, acquired over 25 years of experience in traditional academic medicine utilizing clinical trials methodology, combined with an equal number of years devoted to cultivating a culturally relevant, strategic focus on full engagement and collaboration with Communities of Color. Our track record speaks for itself.
At The AAKOMA Project, we are guided by our Founder’s mission: From Dr. Alfiee – My vision for The AAKOMA Project has always been aligned with creating a unique space in the mental health system and the public for centering the mental health needs of marginalized groups. At AAKOMA, we will always be guided by the true meaning of our name which is derived from the Akoma African Symbol. “Akoma symbolizes tolerance in the face of frustration and stresses the need for patience.”
Recognizing the historical challenges to amplifying and addressing margianlized youth and young adult mental health, AAKOMA is poised to boldly lead in an unapologetic, compassionate and authentic manner to demonstrate how successful. ALL young people can be when we attend to the fullness of who they are, celebrate their gifts and talents and remind them (and by extension ourselves) that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and we deserve #optimalmentalhealth.