Preet Kaur Dhillon is a graduate student in counseling psychology. She has lived in 5 countries and been in the DC area for 3 years. She enjoys living in an area which allows her to indulge my foodie self, and told me that being in Virginia also provides easy access to some good wineries. Preet used to be a competitive swimmer and now enjoys swimming recreationally and has recently added running to the repertoire. Do we have a potential triathlete on our board? Preet also enjoys other water-based sports like kayaking and rowing. I interviewed Preet and shared her responses below.
When and how did you meet CHAI Executive Director, Razia Kosi?
I met Razia in 2012 as I was interested in the work of CHAI in
addressing the mental health needs in the South Asian community. A
friend had called CHAI a few years ago to ask for a referral and this
was my introduction to CHAI.
How did you later come to be involved with CHAI?
Soon after meeting her, Razia invited me to a book club addressing the
issue of human trafficking and invited me to guest blog about this.
Additionally, I worked with Razia as part of the Sikh Healing
Collective to address the mental health needs of the Oak Creek Sikh
community after the mass shooting that take place in August 2012.
What do you hope to accomplish as a board member?
I hope to further CHAI’s reach within the South Asian community in terms of raising awareness and advocacy activities. I also hope to increase CHAI’S involvement within the mental health community and to build partnerships at the local and state levels to increase visibility of this work.
What makes you passionate about mental health and stigma in the South Asian Community?
As a member of both the mental health provider community and the South
Asian community, these areas hold great importance in my life. I have
been involved in the helping profession, whether on a volunteer basis
or as an employee, for a huge part of my life. I believe very strongly
in raising awareness around mental health issues and defeating the
stigma attached to these issues as I feel this is a very underserved
area of need. Mental health needs, especially within the South Asian
community are often not addressed unless and until a crisis state is
reached. I believe very strongly in community care models and as such,
I am strong proponent of strengths based care and working with people
to empower them to take charge of their mental heath and wellbeing.
If you could do any job in the world, besides your current job, what
would it be?
I would be a food and travel writer.
What’s your favorite way to prepare chai?
I make my CHAI with loose leaf black tea, spices, whole milk and bit
of agave nectar to sweeten.
If you had to give yourself a new middle name, what would it be and why?
I would not change mine for anything – ‘Kaur’ was born out of a need
to create gender equality and to reduce caste-based discrimination.
CHAI is so pleased to welcome Preet to the board and introduce her to our membership. Stay tuned for more introductions of new board members during the month of March!