News & Perspectives

News & Perspectives

How Fatherhood Helped Me Overcome Childhood Abuse and Trauma

Mike Valliere pictured with fiancé Joelle and daughter Hailey.

Originally posted on

By Mike Valliere, Children's Trust program participant

Through most of my twenties and thirties, I struggled with depression, anxiety, rage, and suicidal thoughts. I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, major depression, and PTSD. Still, I wouldn’t get the help I needed. I just wanted the pain and my life to end.

That changed when I learned I was going to be a father. It’s not that I was able to fully let the past go, but I was forced to focus on the present and ensuring that my child would have a better outcome. I knew I couldn’t do that without help so I began taking my mental health seriously. I knew I had to for my daughter.

Not long after Hailey was born, her mother left, leaving me a single dad in a new town. I went to the local library looking for activities I could do with Hailey and learned about the family center, a program of the Children’s Trust.

I started attending family center playgroups with Hailey and learned of the free parent education programs that they offered. I took the Nurturing Father’s program, a 16-week parenting education series to learn new and effective parenting techniques. I found it so helpful that I took every other program available.

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