The stepping stone for a life filled with meaning and hope

When Dana was just 26 years old, she lost her mom – her best friend, to cancer.

She was devastated. The traumatic loss triggered depression, suicidal thoughts and disorganized and paranoid thinking over the next three years. At 29, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and admitted to the hospital for two weeks.

A social worker from another organization introduced Dana to Salus and Rehabilitation Worker, Leanne. Dana moved in to one of Salus’ shared living homes where she began her recovery journey.

Thanks to the guidance and support she received from Leanne and the other tenants, she learned life skills again that she had lost – skills like cooking, cleaning and working.

“My journey at Salus has been one of hope, it’s been one of connecting with other peers and never being alone, and being surrounded by a supportive environment and supportive staff,” says Dana.

While recounting her journey of recovery, she commented on the large pine table in the kitchen at Salus’ shared living home. “We sat around the table every time for breakfast, lunch and supper and we took the opportunity to socialize around it. I made quite a few friends here. I love the comradery and the atmosphere and the support and the feeling of togetherness that this place offered me.”

Dana says her time at Salus was the stepping stone between living dependently and independently.

Today, Dana lives in a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate and she works full-time as a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) facilitator.

“Salus gave me the opportunity to learn about WRAP. I’m independent now and I have a job thanks to everything I learned at Salus,” says Dana.

Dana uses her own experience to help empathize with clients in her job as a peer support worker. “And that’s why I’m here, that’s why I’m a peer supporter now, because I don’t want others to go through the same experience, not having somebody to tell them, ‘Hey it’s okay’. I want them to know that recovery is real, and it’s possible, it’s always possible.”