KISH:Tell us about you.
Dr. Chanelle Sweet is a native of Camilla, GA. She has worked as an educational leader for over 20 years in an urban school district in Georgia. Dr. Chanelle Sweet’s education and training is extensive in the areas of education and counseling. She has Bachelor of Science degree in History, a master’s degree in Counseling, and Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership, and a Doctoral Degree in Education Administration and Supervision. She is also a licensed mental health therapist, certified life coach, and trauma informed specialist. Dr. Sweet is the Co-Founder and CEO of Transitions Counseling, Consulting, and Coaching LLC in Macon, GA. She also serves as the Leader of Pastoral Counseling at Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in Macon, GA. Dr. Sweet is a national and international speaker/presenter at various conferences, summits, and workshops in the areas of education, trauma, and mental health. Dr. Chanelle is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?
Dr. Chanelle: My dream is to break the stigma of mental health in the African American community. There is a serious stigma that implies a mental health problem is a sign of weakness and should be kept hidden from others. People often view it as a personal and/or moral defect. This stigma contributes to a reluctance to recognize the need for the help of a physician or therapist Therefore, I will continue to educate people every day and in every way about the importance of mental health and seeking assistance if needed.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?
Dr. Chanelle: My desire to see people live a life of total health (mind, body, and spirit) inspired me to pursue this dream.
KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream?
Dr. Chanelle: There are many cultural factors, societal pressures, and stereotypes that influence beliefs about mental health in the African -American community. Additionally, issues like systemic racism and the lack of culturally sensitive treatment play a role in the way many African Americans view mental health and treatment for mental health issues. Mental health and therapy are not normalized in the way it should. As a result, the mental health field is viewed in the same way in which African Americans view other systems that have caused substantial harm to their community.
KISH: Who or what inspired you to keep pushing regardless of the challenges you’ve encountered?
Dr. Chanelle: My faith in God has inspired me to keep pushing regardless of the challenges I have encountered. I believe I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
KISH: Please provide final thoughts/advice for others by finishing this sentence… dream.
Dr. Chanelle: Dream big and watch it become a reality. Together we can change the narrative from a conversation about mental illness to a conversation about mental wellness because mental health is more than depression, anxiety, or a bipolar disorder diagnosis. It is one’s overall emotional and mental well-being. Through education and awareness, we can break the stigma around mental health in the African American community. We can and we will accomplish this task if we work hard and dream!
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