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From the Readers

Support to Military Families and Refugees Amid Crisis in Afghanistan

Hi Veronica, The situation in Afghanistan is beyond desperate. The trauma has only begun to aff ect U.S. military families and their children. The images are drastic and heartbreaking. Social workers and refugee resettlement organizations are overwhelmed and working tirelessly. The mental health consequences need to be addressed quickly, and Charlie Health is already on the ground helping here in the U.S.

As the fi rst-ever virtual mental health platform for high-acuity patients, Charlie Health is actively providing IMMEDIATE assessments, guidance, and aid to refugees, vets and their families free of charge to help navigate this crisis. Additionally, Charlie Health will continue to work alongside refugee resettlement organizations, social workers, and community leaders to ensure resources are available to all.

We have Carter Barnhart, CEO and Co-founder, available to speak with you regarding the retraumatizing eff ects of the crisis on families and Charlie Health’s initiative stateside.

Charlie Health is the fi rstever virtual mental health clinic with the ability to provide access to millions experiencing mental health crises. They are off ering free assessments for all adolescents and young adults living on a military base. If they are determined to require treatment, Charlie Health will customize a program based on their unique needs. Barnhart is an industry veteran and former patient herself.

According to Carter Barnhart, “This morning, I received a phone call from a military base in Washington state. I had the opportunity to connect with a young girl – her father died serving our country in Afghanistan. She’s re-traumatized by the events and struggling to understand what he sacrifi ced his life for.”

Barnhart continues to say, “ In general, we see a lot of patients who are referred to us that have deployed parents struggling with anxiety-over the unknown, as a lot of military operations, cannot be disclosed to the family members. Additionally, when a parent has passed away, we see struggles with the parent at home who is remaining. They are overwhelmed and maybe having fi nancial diffi culties. So there is a subculture that is important to honor, and we have done this by hiring clinicians with lived experience.” Charlie Health’s clinical team consists of therapists who have been deployed, who have had parents deployed, who have had spouses deployed. An informed and diverse clinical staff remains a priority for Charlie Health in order for its patients and families to receive care that adequately addresses their individual needs and experiences.

Marilyn |


Building Chicago’s First Asian American Ward

Hello Veronica,
There are certain organizing opportunities that only come around once every ten years. Last year, it was the 2020 Census — the decennial process of counting every resident in the U.S. We successfully advocated for state funding for census outreach and then conducted extensive outreach in the Asian American community with our Pan-Asian Voter Empowerment Coalition to ensure our community was accurately counted.

This year, it is redistricting — the process of redrawing district boundaries at all levels of government. Despite signifi cant growth in the Asian American community, as demonstrated by newly released Census data, there are currently no Asian Americans in Chicago City Council.

We hope to change that by advocating for the Asian American community in Greater Chinatown to be redrawn into one city ward. Currently, Chinatown is split across two diff erent wards, making it more diffi cult for the community to advocate for their interests and elect someone who is representative of the community. To learn more, check out this piece from WBEZ featuring Advancing Justice | Chicago and the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community.

In solidarity,
Grace Pai
Exec Dir of Advancing
Justice Chicago

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