Two Cheshire business owners have been chosen as recipients of the Women in Business Development Council (WBDC) Equity Match Grant program.
These two women are not only good friends, they also are both therapists working to address the nation’s growing mental health crisis. Shawniel Chamanlal and Chanel Myers, both based in Cheshire, have received the grants in order to continue offering group-based therapy to those suffering with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Both Chamanlal and Myers received $10,000 in grant funds.
The WBDC is a Connecticut-based council that is focused on “supporting economic prosperity for women and strengthening communities through entrepreneurial and financial education services that create and grow sustainable jobs and businesses across Connecticut,” according to the group’s mission statement. The WBDC releases rounds of funding that range from $2,500 to $10,000.
“People are looking more within themselves these days, and finding that old habits are no longer serving themselves anymore,” Chamanlal said. “People are coming in, craving much more than surface-level therapy, and I am there to help people dig down deep.”
Chamanlal owns and operates Healing Springs Wellness Center on Highland Ave, a holistic wellness center focused on bringing a more universal approach to mental healthcare.
“Along with being a licensed clinical social worker, I am also a Reiki practitioner, and a certified EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapist,” Chamanlal added. “My team at Healing Springs is focused on the entire person, bringing in nutrition and meditation along with therapy to help people move past their internal struggles.”
Myers, who runs marriage and family therapy out of her home in Cheshire, specializes in relationships, and the unhealthy attachments made within those relationships.
“I work a lot within that circle of security model, which was introduced to me early on in my career,” Myers explained. “As a divorced woman, I understand first hand the difficulties and insecurities that people face when they are going through these tough times.”
Both women hope to use the funds to support group therapy efforts to help address serious mental health issues in the community.
“The funds will be used in such a way that I can begin to train other therapists in the work that I am doing,” Chamanlal said. “I want to be a mentor to other therapists and organizations, to help show them what they can be doing at their own practices. This grant allows me to increase access to the community to people who might not be able to afford therapy as well.”
Myers hopes to use the funds to establish specialized group therapy where different therapists in the area can send clients to receive specific care, focused on relationship building and healthy attachments.
“I am not looking to compete with other groups in the area,” Myers said. “There are a lot of therapists in Cheshire. I want us to be able to collaborate with each other, and build a team and a community that works towards a common goal.”
For Myers and Chamanlal, they have each other to lean on in the business, which is especially important during the pandemic.
“(Myers) is my therapy BFF,” said Chamanlal. “We grew up in the business together. She is a rock star. It’s wonderful to have someone to do all of this together with.”
The two became friends amidst the pandemic, and their friendship has only grown stronger as they provide important mental health services to the Cheshire community.
“I felt isolated and wanted to connect with other therapists so I invited a few therapists to do a virtual game night,” Chamanlal said. “We did this for several weeks to have an outlet and connection. The space eventually evolved into a place where we encourage each other to grow our business. Chanel and another member of the group were the ones who encourage me to start hiring people to support the demand of therapy referrals that were coming in. Oct 2020, I hired my first therapists and eventually expanded my team.”
Chamanlal was able to hire 10 therapists in 2020, and she is hoping the grant will help her focus on expanding her services to an even broader clientele.
Chamanlal’s practice, Healing Springs Wellness Center, is located at 555 Highland Ave.
Myers sees clients at her home. For more information about her practice, or to discuss a possible appointment, visit her website at www.cmytherapist.com/index.html.