The house is empty, it’s not your week for having the kids, and maybe it never was your week.
As we continue the exploration of men’s mental health in the Know Your Man Facts series ahead of International Men’s Day on November 19 and the key issues that compromise our well-being, relationships rank high for both enhancing and stripping away our equilibrium.
For example, we know that separated men are 6 x more likely to be depressed than men who are in a relationship.
According to the World Health Organisation, involved dads “live longer, have less physical and mental health problems, are less likely to consume alcohol and drugs, are more productive at work, have fewer accidents, are more likely to be satisfied with their lives and are more emotionally connected to their partners.”
Separation and divorce are among the toughest life experiences people can face.
Men report a huge range of intense reactions and feelings during and after separation such as:
“These feelings can lead to difficulties such as loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and withdrawal from social networks, family or work commitments,” says Mensline Australia.
“While painful and distressing, such responses are normal and with time these will lessen. A new ‘normal’ will settle in, where it will be possible to continue on living a fulfilling and happy life.”
There are around one million children living in separated families in Australia. At least 80% of these children live mostly with their mums and 50% spend little or no time with their dads.
“We also know that half of the separated dads experience thoughts of suicidality post-separation and more than 10 male suicides a week are linked to relationship separation,” says the CEO of Parents Beyond Breakup, Pete Nicholls.
Along with seeking support during a breakup, MensLine encourages men to try and maintain regular routines with eating and sleeping. Other tips include:
- Staying in touch with family and friends
- Exercising regularly
- Avoiding excessive use of alcohol and other drugs (including cigarettes)
If you think you, or someone you know, has a mental health condition, see your GP for a referral to a mental health professional.