One of Pro Bono Counseling Project’s seven special programs is CHAI (Counselors Helping [South] Asian and Indians). Founded in 2001 as an independent organization, CHAI is dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of South Asian communities in Maryland and to reducing the stigma that is sometimes associated with mental illness. In 2017, CHAI joined with PBCP, and, as one of PBCP’s special programs, has continued to provide education, resources, and community outreach to the South Asian community throughout the state. Through CHAI, PBCP connects those in need to licensed mental health providers who are culturally sensitive to South Asian American experiences and identities.

Published earlier this year, Mental Illness Among South Asian Americans: Twenty Culturally Mindful Case Studies is a great resource for clinicians working with the South Asian community, and others wanting to learn about mental health in the South Asian American community. The book was edited by Vani A. Rao, MD, Nalini V. Juthani, MD, and Matthew E. Peters, MD. Dr. Rao is an associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a former president of the Indo-American Psychiatric Association (IAPA). She has volunteered with CHAI, as have several of the contributors to the book, including Razia F. Kosi, LCSW-C, the co-founder of CHAI. Another contributor is CHAI supporter Manoj R. Shah, MD, a founding member and past president of the IAPA.

Each of the twenty case studies presented in the book is composed of a case history detailing the client’s background and reason for seeking therapy, a diagnostic formulation and management recommendation from the therapist, and a summary with teaching points. Iqbal Ahmed, MD, said in his review of the book, that the authors “are to be commended for a book which should be very helpful for mental health professionals taking care of South Asian patients…the authors describe how to use cultural understanding in diagnosis and treatment.” The book is available now for purchase from Amazon and iUniverse.


Established in 1991, the Pro Bono Counseling Project’s mission is to ensure that Marylanders with limited resources requesting mental health care are provided access to volunteer licensed mental health professionals and other necessary supportive services.  If you’d like to support PBCP, please click here to make an online gift.