On Saturday, October 7th, the Movement was proud to host Dana Schaffner as the MM27 Ambassador of the Game.
Dana, a local student from Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute (GCVI) who volunteers her time as part of the “Open Door, Open Minds” group (pictured) that features a group of students that have a mission to help people get the help they need, to start the conversation, and to end the stigma. You can read more about Open Door, Open Minds by visiting their website here: https://opendooropenminds.weebly.com
In addition to her work with Open Door, Open Minds, Dana is also an avid hockey and soccer player, a dancer, shows cows, and a volunteer with the Guelph Storm’s game day staff, the Storm Crew — all of which Dana explains to make her who she is, along with openly discussing her mental illness.
Dana discussed her struggles with bullying in elementary school, and getting diagnosed with anxiety at the age of nine, only to later be hospitalized at 16-years-old when she was diagnosed with depression and PTSD.
Dana offers that her “road to recovery” began at the start of grade 12, when she was placed in a class for students who struggled with anxiety which gave her helpful coping strategies — this is where Open Door, Open Minds was formed. Since, this group has visited elementary schools to share their coping methods, helped teachers understand how to support students with mental health issues, and ran mental health week at GCVI.
Dana continues to say that eliminating the stigma around mental illness is important because even personally, when she was diagnosed, she struggled to believe it.
“I was warned that being honest about my struggles, could lead people to judge me and make beliefs about me based off my illness, and label me,” Dana said. “But, I’m much more than a label.”