Suicide – Lack of Research or lack of Acknowledgment
This is especially for people who are stuck on the casual link theory.
is quoted directly from Suicide in Australia, a Dying Shame, published in November 2000 by the Wesley Mission.
Keith Rankin 2001.
“Marriage breakdown is a significant characteristic of male suicide in the 24-39 age bracket. The anxiety and emotional pain of separation and divorce appear to effect men differently. Whilst suicides may simply be recorded as statistics, it is the increasing number of murder/suicides, involving children that have brought the tragic reality of male suicide, and male mental health issues in general into the public arena. Where children are concerned, there is evidence to suggest that many men sense they are being discriminated against in Family Court judgements, and often find themselves in financial straits having to pay legal fees and child support payments. The difficulty in maintaining access to children also heightens the frustration and isolation of separated and/or divorced men.
“Following two murder/suicides in Western Australia in 1999, where fathers gassed both themselves and their children to death, Allan Huggins, director of Men’s Health, Teaching and Research at Curtin University, said “There is a whole range of psychological issues for them to deal with, but ultimately they see their situation as being totally hopeless and then a realm of fantasy begins where they want to take their children with them to what they perceive as being a better place.” It seems that ‘stressed fathers will keep killing’ both themselves and their children, until adequate support services are provided. Professor Pierre Baume, Head of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention at Griffith University in Queensland found that, in a study of 4,000 suicides, at least 70% were associated with relationship break-ups. Men were 9 times more likely to take their own lives following break-up than women.
“Why do men and women respond so differently to separation? Research suggests that the majority of divorces are initiated by women, and that in most cases, married men did not want to separate and had tried to resolve the problems. Further evidence suggests that the period of ‘separation’ is one of the most stressful times in a man’s life, and often this anxiety and frustration continues for many years.”
I published a paper in 1999 on the way that the Child Support legislation makes it extremely expensive if not impossible for separated fathers (ie ‘secondary caregivers’) to have effective contact with their children. (See Fiscal and Welfare Barriers to Effective Fatherhood, or the revised internet-only version.)
My paper considers the financial position of a separated father of three whose only financial debt is a student loan. In order to provide a roof for his children during access, I assumed he would rent an apartment for $200 per week. If he was unemployed, after paying rent, tax and child support (which most likely would be paid to the state and not to his ex), he would have $2.34 to spend on himself and his children. (In practice, he would have to live in accommodation unsuitable for access.) If he then got a job grossing $500 per week, he would in effect keep 20% of that $500, leaving himself and his children a total of $102 per week for food, bills, transport etc.