All too often, Americans view mental health as a privilege for the wealthy and feel unwelcomed by or disconnected from traditional providers. At the AAKOMA Project, we are working to change that perception. We believe that everyone — regardless of background, income, or identity — deserves optimal mental health, which we define as recognizing mental health challenges, understanding where to get help, and supporting others with similar challenges. Since the stigmas associated with mental health care often begin early, we work with teenagers and their families to raise awareness, conduct patient-centered research, and encourage young people to begin conversations in their communities. We bring a special focus on the unique experiences of people of color. As a result, we are able to engage with communities on a deeper, culturally-relevant level by conducting research and providing clinical support.