Within the past two decades, the number of people suffering from depression and mental health disorders has exponentially increased, making suicide one of the biggest causes of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA. Over the past several years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people have suffered from mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in 2020, approximately 1 in 5 adults or 21% of U.S. adults have experienced mental illness, and 1 in 20 adults or 5.6% of U.S. adults have experienced serious mental illness. Mental illness also affects the younger age groups as well. In 2016, approximately 7.7 million children or 16.5% of U.S. youth between 6-17 years of age have experienced a mental health disorder.

Mental illness affects all demographic groups among U.S. adults. Studies have shown that the following groups were affected in the U.S: Asians (13.9%), White (22.6%), black or African-American (17.3%), American Indian or Alaska Native (18.7%), mixed/multiracial (35.8%), Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (16.6%), Hispanic or Latino (18.4%), Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual (47.4%). Out of those diagnosed with mental illness, in 2020, 46.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness and 64.5% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness received treatment. In 2016, 50.6% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 with a mental health disorder received treatment.

However, the average time between initial diagnosis with mental disorder and treatment is 11 years. Treatment may be an obstacle for many due to financial difficulties. In 2020, approximately 11% of U.S. adults with mental illness and 11.3% of U.S. adults with serious mental illness did not have any insurance coverage for treatment. Over 148 million people in the U.S. reside in an area that is designated as a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area.

The Asian American Resource Center offers a Mental Health Counseling Program to provide free evaluation and counseling to enhance the quality of life to single parents, children and adolescents, victims of crime and abuse, homeless individuals, and other vulnerable individuals. AARC has partnered with industry professionals to strengthen and secure each individual’s mental health aspect and grow as mature independent individuals.

In order to support the Mental Health Counseling Program at AARC, the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia has awarded AARC with a Catholic Community grant. The Grants Program at the Catholic Foundation helps organizations in the community with sufficient financial resources to make a difference and serve those in need. The Grants Program also directly impacts non-profits, parishes, and schools serving within the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Atlanta community that reflects the teachings of the Catholic social teaching, faith, and The Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan. AARC is thankful to have received a grant from the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia and will continue to provide mental health counseling to those in need.