Born and raised in St. Vincent, this published author, recording artiste, TV personality, entrepreneur and single mother had to overcome many major situational and emotional challenges. This path of descent to deliverance has positioned her to pursue goals and achieve dreams and to break down the conversation barriers of the often-taboo topic of Mental Health/Illness and to be a beacon of support for those caught up in the struggle.
Resilient, relatable, compassionate and determined are just a few words which aptly describe Hazell McKenzie, a woman who had once fallen to the very depths of despair to subsequently rise like a Phoenix blazing a trail to success and to being a positive agent of change in this world. She has parlayed her life experiences, drive, creativity and God-given abilities into her current mission of being an advocate for Mental Health within several communities.
Hazell’s passage to becoming a supportive public face and voice for this cause began as a bright-eyed, teenaged island girl who migrated to the US and was faced with the culture shock and difficulties of fast-paced first-world living.
18 years later, she was battling chronic depression, struggling with feelings of anxiety, fear, and stagnation and lacking coping mechanisms for ordeals which included dealing with a son who struggles with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. This pushed her to the verge of committing suicide.
Fortunately, Hazell was able to use her strength and faith to pull herself up from rock bottom and put herself on this present road where she is now able to be an affirmative influencer to those currently dealing with inner torment. As a survivor of Depression, she has experienced firsthand the painful symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, anxiety, hopelessness, over-sleeping, over-eating and fatigue and she aims to not only destigmatize the disorder but to also remove the shame associated with it.
Hazell aspires to be a voice for women, single parents, abuse victims, immigrants and an advocate for individuals and communities who are afraid to talk about Depression and to seek help.
Through speaking engagements and her social media presences, she continues to be a symbol of encouragement to both men and women from all over the world including the US, UK, Canada, and her native Caribbean region via her relatable story of life, love, loss and redemption.
In addition, to be being a diligent advocate for Mental Health, Hazell has also authored the children’s book, ‘Playtime in Overdrive’, recorded a Gospel music record, was a contestant and winner of season 12 of the Food Network’s ‘Worst Cooks in America’, is currently creating her memoirs and developing the first ever social work smart doll called ‘AdamaDOLL’.
Blessed with an engaging, approachable and charismatic personality matched with a huge capacity for loving and giving, the possibilities are limitless for this graduate student of Social Work and general student of life. Through her own history of overcoming adversity, Hazell will
continue to motivate others in similar situations, to inspire hope and to provide transparent, judgement free forums for open discussion, insight and support regarding Depression and otherissues of Mental Health.