Susanne's Story: "Better access to mental health support helps me live my best life"

Susanne is a resilient woman who found mental health support through The Family Centre, a United Way-funded partner agency. Empowered by these tools and resources, Susanne reclaimed control of her life. Her journey of self-discovery and recovery is a reminder that everyone deserves a chance at their best life. 

Susanne’s Story 

On paper, things were looking right in my life: I had a strong business career, a loving marriage to an engineer, a beautiful home, a new baby girl, and a three-legged dog named Happy.  

But on the inside, I was really struggling. I was operating on fear, and that led me to have an incredible amount of self-doubt, lack of confidence, frustration, anxiety, and anger. I was just so… unhappy.   

You see, I was abused by a family member from when I was five to eight years old. When my family became aware of this, I had to testify in court, and then that person ‘went away for a while’. When I was 12, my parents allowed that family member back into our home to live with us, which had a devastating effect on me. I was struggling in school, I couldn’t focus or sleep, and I became angry and resentful — I felt betrayed by my family.  

But even though I was experiencing such emotional turmoil, I felt like it was my responsibility to help keep the family together, so I tolerated this for many years.  

When I became pregnant with my daughter, I started having really negative thoughts and knew I needed professional psychological help. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t get in to see a psychologist in my small town. Instead, I started seeing a human service counsellor who helped me the best she could with her qualifications. 

My instructors taught me how to set healthy boundaries, how to communicate effectively, and how to focus on my mental wellbeing. Most importantly, they gave me the tools I needed to heal so that I could live a happy, peaceful life. 

Don’t get me wrong. After I graduated from the course, I still had a LOT of work to do. The Family Centre gave me the template, but I had to continue working hard on myself. For the first while, I had to keep referencing my notes and following the steps until I got better and better. Eventually it became natural for me. 

Throughout my journey, I’ve transitioned into someone who is more patient, calm, focused, and confident. The Healthy Relationships course helped me understand that I am worth unconditional self-love and self-acceptance, and now I’m able to be truly authentic and live as my true self. 

I understand what happened to me is not who I am. I deserve to be happy, healthy, and live a fulfilling, joyful life. By doing so, I can provide my daughters and husband with a better life too — Yes, we have grown our family since I’ve completed the course — a true sign of personal success!  

To anyone reading this, remember: you deserve to live your best life too. 


The Healthy Relationships Group for Women focuses on building more fulfilling relationships and balanced life with less conflict. Facilitated by a mental health therapist, this group will help you enhance your well-being by showing you how to develop healthier relationship skills based on your own personal values and what you want your life to be. 


This article was originally published on Please visit their website to learn more about their services and supports.