Meet the Team: Schwanna Cockerham-Qualls

“Therapy is like a puzzle where you are putting the pieces together.  I love putting the pieces together to see the whole picture.”

As a trained psychotherapist, Schwanna Cockerham-Qualls’ work is an essential piece of the comprehensive housing, health, education, and employment programs offered to women at Calvary Women’s Services. Schwanna has been sharing her passion and expertise as Calvary’s on-site mental health provider for nearly a decade.

“I have always loved helping people. I learned early on that this was my calling and I love doing it,” she recently shared.

Schwanna meets with women in Calvary’s transitional and permanent supportive housing programs, assisting them as they work to prioritize their mental wellbeing and meet their goals. Her primary responsibility is to support women by discussing their mental health concerns through individual counseling. She holds weekly in-person sessions at our program sites as well as virtual sessions to be able to meet a diverse range of client needs.

Throughout her time at Calvary, Schwanna has been working with women to dismantle the stigma of shame perpetuated around seeking mental health services.

“Residents have often not wanted to be diagnosed or even take medication,” Schwanna noted of her experience. “I would encourage them to seek help especially when they notice something is wrong. Having a mental health issue is not shameful, it’s brave to acknowledge it and do something about it.”

In addition, Schwanna works closely with fellow staff members to meet residents’ needs and has led staff trainings on crucial topics like trauma-informed care. These kinds of informational sessions ensure that the entire Calvary team can best serve each woman who comes through our doors – no matter what they have experienced in their life.

Having access to passionate, skilled mental health professionals has a transformative effect on women working to end their homelessness for good. In an average year, some 2 in 5 women at Calvary engage in on-site mental health services. This adds up to over 530 free therapy sessions with licensed professionals like Schwanna each year!

“I am so proud of the clients that can see themselves changing through talk therapy and medication management,” Shwanna shared.

One of Schwanna’s favorite parts of her role is being able to listen and learn from the women at Calvary’s programs. “I love working with the residents,” she noted warmly. “I would not ask them to be anything other than who they are.”

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, Schwanna shared we have the ability to transform negative perceptions of mental health. “Acknowledging your mental health is your superpower.”

Calvary provides health, housing, education, and employment services to each woman at our life-changing programs. You can support our mission and ensure more women have access to the services they need to end their homelessness for good by making a donation here.

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