Depression is not only a struggle for the child but for the entire family.

“For me, depression isn’t just sadness, it’s a loss of meaning, it’s numbness, like you are isolated in a glass shell…” said Terrence*. 

Terrence* and his family moved from Shanghai to the United States when he was 14 years old. He soon started high school in a new country and found himself overwhelmed by the academic pressure and cultural differences. Language barriers made it difficult for Terrence to make friends or even keep up with his peers in the same classes. He felt isolated and alone. He stayed in bed all day and felt numb to the world; things he had once been passionate about were no longer interesting. This also led to countless arguments with his father Jiahao*.

At first, Jiahao assumed Terrence was being lazy or making excuses. Jiahao thought, “A person should be able to control his emotion...I was not willing to believe Terrence had depression.” Soon, they both came to the realization that Terrence needed professional help and eventually found AACI.

When Terrence began working with Yifan, a Mandarin-speaking counselor at AACI, he found that therapy gave him a safe space to release his emotions, explore who he was, and learn healthier ways to express himself. Months into therapy, Yifan encouraged Terrence to involve his father in their counseling sessions. This transformed their relationship.

“Many sessions would end up with all of us in tears,” his father said. Through these sessions, his father learned better ways to communicate with Terrence. He discovered that he needed to change his parenting methods in order to support his son.

Jiahao learned, “Give your children some patience. Put aside all your hopes and expectations, it’s enough to understand them.”

Today, Terrence feels like a completely different person. He is attending a university, and exploring his passion for the liberal arts. When asked what he would say to someone with depression, he said,

“What I learned was acceptance, love, and gentleness to myself and others, it taught me to find happiness from life, it taught me to be involved in my community, the people around me, because you don’t have to be the president of the United States to change the world.”

This transformation was possible because of heroes like you. YOU allowed him to feel love and a sense of community. YOU helped Terrence to overcome depression and to feel closer to his father!

This month, 100 more children will walk through AACI’s doors. Each one of these children will need help coping with depression, anxiety, and trauma and your gift will provide this critical support. Without mental health counseling, many of these youth will continue to feel isolated, hopeless and disconnected to their families.

Generous friends in our giving community will be matching all donations received up to $5,000! Can you help us get there? Your gift today will help other children and families receive the counseling and support they need to overcome depression.

YOUR support will change real people’s lives at AACI every day!

“If a client believes one person is kind, he would feel safe and nourished with one person. If a client sees everybody is kind in AACI, he feels safe and optimistic about the world,” says AACI counselor, Yifan.

Please make a gift today and join the community of supporters that help our clients to feel safe and optimistic about the world. Contribute by December 31st to double your gift!