Through My Eyes as a Mental Health Clinician…

December 5, 2023

My name is Dahlia and I am a Mental Health Clinician with AAFSC. I am part of a team of delivers free individual therapy to the NYC immigrant community in six different languages.  

Over the past few years, there have been a growing number of Arab-American mental health counselors, like me, who are trained in giving back to the community they were raised in. That’s why I became a therapist–to care for my community and play a leading role in addressing the stigma around mental health that I was exposed to while growing up. 

When I speak to my clients at this time, I can’t express into words the pain I hear in their voices. With the increase of hate crimes in the U.S. rooted in anti-Arab, Islamophobic, and antisemitic intent, more Arab-Americans are being targeted and, in fact, CAIR has reported a 216% increase in requests for help compared to the previous year. This has caused many in our community to experience hypervigilance: a state of high alert that is stressful, anxiety-provoking, and exhausting to maintain. 

We will never forget when 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume, a Palestinian-American child, was stabbed 26 times on October 14th and murdered in his own home in Chicago. Imagine that brutal crime being discussed in my sessions. My clients are scared to walk in the street with their children, in fear that their child will be the next Wadea Al-Fayoume laid to rest in a small casket. This is just one reason why AAFSC’s counseling services are vitally important today and through these moments ahead. 

As a Clinician, I must speak out and say that mental health resources give strength to our community, helping them tap into the power of healing. I am grateful for your support.  

AAFSC is proud to provide free mental health support to those who need it most, but we are asking for your help. By sharing a few words from our team, we hope that you can join us and make a donation to support mental health.