Everyone Deserves Mental Healthcare – Here’s How The AAKOMA Project Is Making That Happen

When we first started writing about the benefits of therapy, one of the most frequent objections we heard was that therapy was too expensive. That, and that it was too hard to figure out how to find a provider that you actually clicked with AND accepted your insurance.

And I’m not trying to be glib here, but that was coming from our 2017 audience – a mostly white, financially stable audience of millennial, urban women. If that’s how our audience at the time felt, imagine how overwhelmed different intersectionalities might feel when seeking mental healthcare. 

This gap in accessibility is why we were so excited to be introduced to The AAKOMA Project and their charismatic leader, Dr. Alfiee

Dr. Alfiee

Meet The AAKOMA Project

The AAKOMA Project is working to change the perception that mental healthcare is a privilege available only to the wealthy and/or White youth and families. They believe that everyone—inclusive of all backgrounds, income levels and identities—deserves the opportunity to achieve #optimalmentalhealth. Optimal Mental Health, according to The AAKOMA Project, means recognizing mental health challenges when they arise, understanding where to go for help, and supporting friends and loved ones to seek help.

Specifically, The AAKOMA Project believes that to meet the mental health needs of intersectional Youth and Young Adults of Color (including those who identify as LGTBQ and disabled), they need to operate at three levels; raising consciousness among individuals, empowering people by providing accessible tools for ongoing management, and changing the (mental health) system to receive young people and provide better care.

The AAKOMA Project was founded by Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble, a.k.a. Dr. Alfiee. She’s a pioneering psychologist with a passion for helping people of all backgrounds (especially youth and young adults) achieve optimal mental health. An in-demand media expert, mental health correspondent, keynote speaker, author and scientist, Dr. Alfiee has the unique ability to translate her scientific knowledge of mental health disparities into engaging and actionable ideas for the public. At the #Sweatworking Summit, you’ll see Dr. Alfiee as a judge for our pitch competition on Thursday, March 10. 

The AAKOMA Project at the #Sweatworking Summit: Do You See Me?: The Benefits of Identity Affirming Therapy 

On Saturday, March 12, at 11am Central, #Sweatworking Summit attendees will hear from Brandon J. Johnson, M.H.S., MCHES from The AAKOMA Project.

Brandon J. Johnson

The demand for mental health support has increased greatly in the last two years, due to several reasons such as the COVID-19 pandemic and a more honest conversation around the impact of racial trauma for People of Color. As more people are searching for the right therapist, the desire to find a clinician that shares our thoughts, values, and our identity is an important consideration. In this conversation, we’ll unpack the idea of identity affirming therapy and how accessing a therapist who shares your identity can lead to better outcomes during the therapeutic process. We’ll also talk about resources that can assist people in finding a therapist who shares their identity and experiences.

Ready to join hands with The AAKOMA Project? Click here to register for the #Sweatworking Summit today!

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About Kristen Geil

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Kristen moved to Chicago in 2011 and received her MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse from DePaul while trying to maintain her southern accent. Kristen grew up playing sports, and since moving to Chicago, she’s fallen in love with the lakefront running path and the lively group fitness scene. Now, as a currently retired marathoner and sweat junkie, you can usually find her trying new workouts around the city and meticulously crafting Instagram-friendly smoothie bowls. Kristen came on to A Sweat Life full-time in 2018 as Editor-in-Chief, and she spends her days managing writers, building content strategy, and fighting for the Oxford comma.