Energize Don’t Hide 2021 Individual Highlight: Dannika

Energize Don’t Hide 2021 Individual Highlight: Dannika

Dannika pictured with a photograph of her older brother who died by suicide in 2012.

It is the season for Energize Don’t Hide and we’re excited to highlight one of our energizers this year, Dannika.

Her participation in this year’s Energize Don’t Hide 2021 Challenge is a commemoration to her brother.  

“My older brother died from suicide. His 31st birthday would have been May 18, 2021. I wanted to raise funds for my community rooted in his memory. I’m normally moderately physically active so I figured this was an excellent cause to allocate my focus.”

While passionate about advocating for better access to mental health resources, Dannika is also dedicated to, and nurtures her overall health with consistent exercise. 

“I do a combination of physical activity. I strength train at home with free weights or hit the gym up. I walk a lot at work and I’m also a hot yoga person. I work as a paramedic and when I need an hour to myself to really become grounded and present, you can catch me at the studio—sweating profusely.”

In addition, Dannika enjoys biking, rollerblading by the river, and hiking to the top of mountains in Kananaskis Country alongside friends.

Dannika currently serves the City of Calgary as a paramedic.

As a working paramedic, Dannika knows the importance of providing patients, and her fellow front-line workers the mental health aid and support they need, when they need it most.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed massive pressure on front-line workers, increasing trauma-related health disorders.

“The world has felt a huge shift due to the current health climate and I can openly say that I’ve talked to patients and peers alike who have all felt the varying degrees of strain on their mental health.”

“Self-compassion comes down to giving myself permission to remember it’s okay to not be okay and remember my humanness.”

Dannika

Dannika makes sure to self-reflect and regularly check in with herself, without marginalizing how or why she feels a certain way.

Dannika finds balance in her mental health and well-being by being physically active, especially out in the mountains.

“Mental health to me is really deeply rooted in mental hygiene. And being unapologetically honest about your needs to obtain your own levels of regular psychological maintenance.”

To show herself self-compassion after a busy day, Dannika loves to volunteer with Girl Guides of Canada, paint, cook, and call her family members.

“I [also] try my best to sleep 7 – 8 hours a night (or day) and drink enough water. I love to learn about anything that peaks my interest. I love to read. I enjoy bubble baths and a good movie. I also really enjoy saying ‘no thank you.’ That last one is really important.”

Already surpassing her initial fundraising goal, Dannika continues to accomplish her fundraising milestones thanks to the support of her family and friends.

Check out Dannika’s Energize Don’t Hide participant page for more information on her Energize Don’t Hide journey.

Our Peer Support program services can be accessed over the phone at 403-297-1402 or through email at peer@cmha.calgary.ab.ca. We have teamed up with other Calgary agencies to help Calgarians quickly and easily access various counselling and social supports. Visit www.communityconnectyyc.ca, where you can book online for our Suicide Bereavement and Family Support Counselling, and other supports. If you prefer to still book through us, please phone (403-297-1708), or email (counsellingintake@cmha.calgary.ab.ca).