Engaging depressed African American adolescents in treatment: lessons from the AAKOMA PROJECT


  • The AAKOMA PROJECT team thanks Michele Roley, Dr. Otima Doyle, our community partners, youth advisory board, and the many individuals who have supported our efforts.

  • Dr. Breland-Noble is funded by a career (K) award from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (MH073814) and the Loan Repayment Program via the National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD).


The authors describe and illustrate means of engaging depressed African American adolescents in treatment. Twenty-eight youth participated in focus groups or individual interviews. Using grounded theory and transcript based analysis, they derived 5 themes describing African American adolescents' experience of depression and suggested mechanisms for improving African American youth treatment engagement. Practitioners can educate African American youth about depression as a medical disorder, build trust, and apply innovative approaches to recognizing differential manifestations of depression in African American youth. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol: In Session 66:1–12, 2010.