Our Mission

At The AAKOMA Project, we build the consciousness of intersectional Youth and Young Adults of Color and their caregivers on the recognition and importance of mental health, empower Youth and Young Adults of Color and their families to seek help and manage mental health, and influence systems and services to receive and address the needs of Youth and Young Adults of Color and their families.

Our work directly addresses the mental health of Youth and Young Adults of Color (YYAC) via three key populations: intersectional YYAC, their families and communities, and relevant system actors. Our community is comprised of people who share the experience of marginalization and exclusion in society in general and specifically within conversations on mental health. This includes people ostracized due to racism, sexism, homophobia, and other identity-based traumas.

Our work to meet the mental health needs of Youth and Young Adults of Color means we operate at three levels:

1. Raising consciousness among individuals,
2. Empowering people by providing accessible tools for ongoing management, and
3. Changing systems to receive youth and provide better care.

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. For too long, stigmas associated with mental illness, a lack of focus on culturally responsive mental health research, care and policy, and lack of engagement with Youth, Young Adults, Families, and Communities of Color has resulted in unaddressed stigma and high unmet need for mental illness care in marginalized communities. AAKOMA focuses on intersectional YYAC mental health (including LGBTQIA+ youth and youth with disabilities) to amplify communities long neglected within mental health conversation.

With stigma and inequalities in health being such significant barriers to equitable care, AAKOMA works to raise awareness, conduct community-collaborative research, and encourage young people to lead culturally relevant mental health conversations. AAKOMA brings more than 25 years of specialized expertise in the unique mental health experiences of People of Color to this work, thus we are expert in engaging with marginalized, intersectional communities on a deeper, culturally responsive level via our research, outreach, and clinical support network. By extension we educate and influence the broader population of youth mental health stakeholders to center equity in the mental health space for all youth.