By Attorney Edward Kitchen
Special to THELAW.TV
It is often said, sometimes with tongue in cheek, that the three most stressful times in people’s lives are death, divorce, and moving house. There is also the perception that these events, and in particular divorce, cause more stress for women than men. However, the Daily Mail has very recently reported on research carried out in the U.S. that reveals the suicide rate among divorced men is 39 percent higher than for their married counterparts.
The report suggests that men in divorce often lack social support and can become easily depressed. There is a call for health professionals to recognize this when they are consulted by men going through a separation. Often, what starts out as a problem with sleep, will be the early symptoms of something more insidious, such as depression. In such circumstances, the author of the report suggests that men should be actively encouraged to seek help either through therapy or counseling.
As a family law specialist, I have seen more than my fair share of people, both male and female, going through the pain of relationship breakdown. I recognize that the legal advice I provide is only one part of the help and support that people need in these often very traumatic circumstances. Family lawyers can often unwittingly become counselors to their clients, but it is far better for people to seek the appropriate professionals to help them with each aspect of the process.
I recognize that life can change dramatically for people after divorce. Friends can often take sides and people who we thought we could trust can turn out to be very different when we really need them. Add to that the depressing thought of constantly returning to a lonely apartment after work and it is not hard to see how depression can take hold.
Having recently gone through the divorce process myself, I can identify with aspects of this, as well as the attitude that eschews help, while attempting to deal with “stuff” internally. After all, are we not ridiculed for never asking for directions?
Relationship breakdown can leave us all asking very serious questions about where we are going with our lives. It is easy to get “lost” on a number of levels and I would urge anyone struggling with separation, either at the time or indeed afterwards, to seek help and talk to professionals about what they are going through.
It is not a sign of weakness or an admission of failure, and the consequences of not doing so can be serious. My legal advice helps to resolve issues in the relatively short term. It is often the longer term that needs much more work and attention.