Breaking Free From the Silence of Suicide with Michelle Anhang

Hope Out of the Darkness

14-09-2021 • 44 mins

Professional Certified Coach Michelle Ahnang knows very well how not allowing yourself to grieve can hurt you far after you've lost a loved one to suicide. 15 years ago, Michelle's husband killed himself. Their family decided not to tell people the truth about his death for some time, which made Michelle's healing process long and arduous. In this episode, she talks to Hope Out of the Darkness about the words that got her attention and helped her decide to get herself well, then turn her experience into a platform to help others with their own mental health challenges.

If you are in crisis or know someone who is...please call:
Suicide Lifeline at 1-800- 273-8255
or text the word “help” to 741-741

About Michelle:

Success is a strange thing. It’s never a linear path, but a collection of events and our reactions to them. What we do with what we are presented is up to us. It makes sense then that our success is also up to us.

My path has not been a linear one, as so many of us have experienced. Growing up with emotional abuse in a constrictive house my sense of worth and worthiness were eroded, obscuring my identity. I learned that in order to be safe, I must become invisible and silent. I lived by others’ expectations, never realizing my own. I remained this way into adulthood, my marriage and new motherhood.

But then the unthinkable happened.

My husband of 12 years, my best friend, died by suicide. With two young children to look after, I shifted into survival mode without ever processing my own grief, confusion and anger. Meanwhile, my husband’s suicide lingered over me, the stigma stripping me of my ability to speak the truth of both him and what happened. I remained shame-driven.

Climbing out of silence.

I lived that way for over ten years, until I was no longer able to carry this backpack of shame and guilt and silence. I was forced to confront everything--my childhood, my husband’s death, and my identity as a widow, all while raising my two beautiful children alone. I started going to therapy and began the hard work of healing and discovering who I was. I learned that my voice was stronger than silence and that I was more than the singular events that brought me to this place.

The true me.

It’s from these experiences that my coaching practice was born. Throughout my healing and discovery process, I learned what it meant to guide others living with mental health challenges, and the lethal impact of stigma and silence.

This is what I do:

I help strip the silence, shatter the stigma, and get you on the path to becoming who you truly are. I work to support families faced with mental health challenges, individuals who are ready to stop their own cycle of self-sabotage, and professionals struggling with balance. This is my mission.

I hold a BA in Psychology from York University, am a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), and a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC). I am Mental Health First Aid certified through the Mental Health Commission of Canada. I am also trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness Training for Emotional Resilience, and am an active public speaker and educator.

I’m an avid lover of dance, reading and general decompression. My sons, Eric and Zack, are my world, although they love to roll their eyes at me, particularly when I’m dancing.


⦁ Michelle's husband's struggle with mental health
⦁ The after effects of her husband's suicide and the lie that made it worse
⦁ Finding the motivation to heal and the therapy she needed
⦁ It's alright to be angry
⦁ How has the stigma faded over the last 15 years?
⦁ Coming clean and working through it together
⦁ Being mindful about moving toward healing
⦁ Setting boundaries about your comfort level
⦁ What we can all do to help end the stigma
⦁ We are in control of our mental health: things you can do daily to improve your mental health
⦁ Mental health first aid - the CPR for mental health
⦁ How to use your phone Notes app to give yourself a boost


Connect with Shell Pavlis:

AFSP Volunteer, Advocate, Event Sponsor, Give Back Partner
Realtor® Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
All Shell’s Social:
Connect with our guest, Michelle Anhang:
(647) 886-4616

Connect with Michelle Anhang:
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Council on Aging OC
Children’s Hospital of Orange County
Hoag Hospital
University of California, Irvine

Let’s Stop Suicide. Mental Health for All. Suicide Prevention. Suicide Support.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Orange County, CA:
Become a Volunteer
National Alliance on Mental Health
DiDi Hirsch Mental Health Services (LA & OC)

Connect with Hope Out of the Darkness:
Record a Question about mental health or suicide to be answered on an episode of Hope Out of the Darkness:
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