Meet University of Guelph-Humber Ambassador Elysa Mancini
Elysa Mancini's mental health story started at the age of 8-years-old.
She would experience signs of discomfort while she was at school. She remembers having headaches and pain similar to a stomach ache.
As a child she spent a lot of time in her school’s office, specifically in the backroom with a small bed. She would call her parents and describe the pain she was in.
Mancini remembers most of her school days ending in that backroom. She remembers having these unknown pains and feeling of discomfort for years.
Around her preteen years she began to learn what anxiety was. Her discovery made her feel less isolated, and with a little online research she was able to find coping mechanisms.
Some coping mechanisms she found successful were exercising and journaling.
Mancini said, “I felt a lot of clarity because I was concerned with what was wrong with me and I had no idea what was going on… and when I found the actual term for it. It was like nothing is wrong, it’s just a little bump.”
The anxiety she most identified with was separation anxiety. She noticed her mind would be overwhelmed with thoughts of worries when her parents were away for long periods of time.
Mancini said, “I remember we went to a Disney cruise and there was this daycare spot for the kids, so that the adults can go have fun and the second my parents would drop us off there two minutes later I’d be calling them from the cruise phone….”
Now as a young adult Mancini is the finance executive of the Cam’s Kids program at Guelph-Humber’s campus.
As a member of this program she has experienced an immense amount of positivity. The ambassadors at this location have created a positive work environment.
She said, “I feel grateful to be a part of an organization that wants to spread love and positivity out in the world.”
A large part of this team’s positivity comes from looking at the small things people can do to improve their mental health.
Integrating more moments of joy in your life can make a difference. Examples of these small changes include doing activities that you love more often and spending more time with family and friends.
The ambassadors at Guelph-Humber host a variety of interactive events on campus. They encourage students to join them if they are available.
A previous event the team ran was paint night. Some students that attended this event spent at least an hour painting and engaging with the ambassadors.
Paint night was strategically placed near exams. It was designed to help students practice self-care and relax.
A moment of destressing can go a long way.
Mancini’s involvement in the Cam’s Kids program shows she is committed to helping young people who are struggling with their mental health. Through her own journey she acknowledges and understands how difficult it is to cope with your mental health alone.
She said, “Reach out to someone they trust or someone they can confide in. I know for myself talking about it always helps, holding it in gets very heavy sometimes, speaking to people can help you feel less alone…”
For anyone struggling with their mental health they can text the word CAM to 686868 for free, 24-7 confidential mental health support.