Penrith Star

29/10/2002

29/10/2002

Suicide link to divorce

Penrith Star (Australia)

THE pain of separation and divorce is having an alarming effect on the mental health of Australian males.

So say two experts from the UWS Hawkesbury campus.

They are Dr David Crawford and Prof John Macdonald, from the university's men's health information and resource centre.

They also said yesterday that they believed that divorce and separation might be contributing to high rates of male suicide in Australia.

They said relationship breakdown and divorce were leaving many men emotionally broken and unable to cope.

"Australian research shows that divorce is rated as one of the most distressing life events for men and women," Prof Macdonald said.

"In 2000 there were some 50,000 divorces, 23,600 of which were families with children.

"With 42 per cent of first marriages failing, we are increasingly seeing the devastating effects that separation has on people's mental health and wellbeing, particularly men, who are often an overlooked casualty in divorce."

Prof Macdonald said this inability to cope with the aftermath of separation could be one of the reasons for Australia's high rate of male suicide.

"Recently separated fathers are an extremely high-risk group for suicide and self-harm," he said.

"A great proportion of men who go through family breakdown experience considerable psychological stress. While most of the men begin to cope well after about two years, a sizeable number do not."

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