I'm not aware of any equivalent national hotline in Canada. If a reader knows of one please place a comment and I will post the number and distribute it. I recall well my first Christmas in 2005 without my youngest girls present or even the ability to write or talk to them. They had been kidnapped and I didn't know where they were. I cried a river of tears on the 24th and 25th of December, 2005. It was without question the loneliest 2 day period of my life. Dads do go through terrible grief at the loss of their ability to be fathers and participate as parents in the daily life of their children. Unfortunately we try and "suck it up" like men and thank goodness, at least in Australia, they have a 24/7 help line. In Canada abut 3,000 men commit suicide per year. That is way above the rate for women. The math then tells us that is 8 per day, a startling number. If 700 of those are from family/separation/divorce family court issues that would be almost 2 a day. Some put the number much higher than 700 for family court issues.
To put it in perspective we have lost, as of this writing, since February, 2002, 108 Canadians in the Afghanistan conflict including our first ever female combat veteran. The chart is yet incomplete and shows casualties to Dec/08.
The mainstream press do the math every time we have a tragic casualty. The Liberal party of Canada, the now Official Opposition in 2008 said "But the party says it would be a "travesty" to continue the current military role in Kandahar under the guise of a "training mission." This is the party when in power in 2002 sent 2,000 troops there. They are getting cold feet because of public opinion which appears to be against the mission given the casualty rate. Canada's leading "Girly Man" and feminist Taliban Jack "I'm no Corporate Lackey" Layton the leader of the NDP (No Dads Party) a relic of a socialist party wants the troops home yesterday. He has no stomach for combat. To date no Canadian feminist has been lost in combat in any of the many wars our country has fought and I predict with a certainty beyond mortal men we never will. They are too busy whining about their perpetual victimhood over their double mocha Lattes or seeing which cheque from their many entitlements they should sign first. In 2008 we had Peaceniks out demonstrating to bring our troops home.
There is an online petition to stop the Canadian operation in Afghanistan here http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/end-canadian-combat-operations-in-afghanistan.html by a peacenik named Matthew Good and a quote from his petition site is shown below. In this case he seems to be anti-American and, therefore we ought not to be there because it's an American foreign policy initiative. How many Canadians were killed within 40 minutes on September 11, 2001 by terrorists trained in Afghanistan? I think about 24. Are we a member of NATO? Last time I checked we were and this obliges us to help a member nation attacked by hostiles.
The peacniks quote: "While the ISAF mission in Afghanistan was sanctioned by a United Nations resolution, something that is suspect given those who hold sway over it, the fact that an organization primarily comprised of Western powers, whose own Charter was use as justification for involvement, was called upon to supply the force now fighting the Taliban insurgency is telling to say the least. Were the mission one in which a fully UN sanctioned and controlled force was in place for security measures, blue helmets and all, perhaps one could argue for our inclusion. Unfortunately, our legacy in Afghanistan is now inexorably linked to not only the objectives of the United States, but to the tenets of their current foreign policy doctrine. And to our discredit, we have demonstrated, be it by way of our military leadership or government, that we are willing to tow that line" Here is a typical headline from a major publication every time there is a casualty. "Canada suffers its 108th military casualty in Afghanistan." The math seems to mean more than the name of the individual who was killed. Our soldiers are doing brave work in a foreign country and are making the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of us all. That is newsworthy when one of them dies. I support the mission and want us to persevere.
Yet here at home each and every day as many as 2 men could be killing themselves because of family court issues and we get nothing from the media. Isn't it worth investigating? The number of 2 a day could be much higher. I have heard comments it could be as high as 5 per day but either figure is an epidemic. Imagine what would happen if 2 people a day died from a communicable disease. Remember back in 2003 the reaction to SARS in the City of Toronto where 44 died. Apparently because these suicides are men it doesn't raise an eyebrow. MJM
Friday, December 19, 2008
Dads Suicide Risk Skyrockets When Separated From Their Children
As Christmas approaches, Mensline Australia has uncovered men living without their children are five times more likely to have attempted suicide, as compared to fathers who are living with their children.
Highlighted in an analysis of the 60,000 callers who ring Mensline Australia each year, fathers living alone are also twice as likely to have experienced a serious mental health concern.
The extreme isolation and emotional pain many men feel is immediately apparent when they reach out for help and contact Mensline Australia. Fathers living alone are also three times more likely to be in the act of suicide when calling the professional telephone counselling service.
Dr Nick Foster of Mensline Australia explains many separated fathers are devastated by the inability to see or live with their children. "Men are awash with pain, anger and frustration when they call our counsellors. We receive at least two suicide-related calls every day. Sadly, we receive many more calls from men whose only glimmer of hope is the possibility of one day, being able to spend more time with their kids", said Dr Foster.
"The festive season really intensifies the difficulties faced of many non-custodial parents, with many dads highly frustrated and distressed that access to their kids is being controlled by someone else. This strips away a man's sense of worth, dignity and his identity as a father. The struggle to deal with these overwhelming feelings and separation from their kids, increases their risk of suicide", said Dr Foster.
Call patterns to Mensline Australia show special days like Christmas increase distress, both on the day itself and for the weeks to come. Unfortunately, these frustrations are not isolated to the day itself – they are what separated dads deal with on a daily basis.
Mensline Australia counsellors suggest the following tips for separated dads to reduce the pressure, both surrounding Christmas, and throughout the year:
Moving or 'handing -over' is often a high tension point for separated families. Schedule 'hand overs' to occur at neutral locations, many Family Relationship Centres have 'change over' services to facilitate conflict free 'hand overs'.
Create opportunities to really engage with your children both surrounding Christmas and throughout the year. Playing sport, going on day trips, or creating backyard masterpieces are ways to create positive memories for you AND your children.
If you can't physically be with your children, be part of their lives through letters, emails, sms, phone calls and photos. Let them know what's been happening in your life and that you care about what's been happening in their lives.
Mensline Australia is the only national professional telephone support and information service for men, specialising in relationship and family concerns. Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the service receives more than 60,000 calls each year. Mensline Australia is provided by Crisis Support Services.
Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 www.menslineaus.org.au
For media enquiries/ interviews please contact:
Caroline Doherty 0403 574 919/ Cara Spencer 0417 030 232
Crisis Support Services Inc. (CSS) is Australia's leading professional, specialist telephone counselling and training provider. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, CSS is fully accredited in suicide prevention and counselling, with a 50 year history of helping people in crisis.