Our 2020 campaign to reduce separated dad suicide
20 years of Dads in Distress
"When I attended my first DIDs (Dads in Distress) meeting, I felt grounded. I felt connected, and I realised I was not alone."
"I barely had any contact with my daughter for 8 years. When I came to DIDs, everything changed. It helped me so much, with peer support and knowledge. It's unique, I haven't found anything else like it."
"DIDs support group. I hate to think what I might do without it. It helps me cope. I learn something every time I attend. It lets me know, I'm not alone."
“When we separated she went for the jugular and alienated my children from me”
John is a NSW dad in his 50's. He shares an insight into how difficult life become post separation, and what coming to DIDs meant to him. Bottom line, why he's still here for his three kids. John talks about the orange chair at the group he attended but it's not always orange. It's our 'empty chair' at every meeting. The empty chair represents the fathers that did not make it to that meeting because, maybe, they'd decided that it was just all too much.
“I called the police, explained the situation and asked him to help me get out safely with the kids. He told me to stop wasting his time. That same police officer arrested me in 2011 after I’d been attacked by her. ”
Alan is a dad in his 40's in QLD. He became suicidal after being unable to find a way to protect himself and their kids after a substance-abusing mother turned violent towards himself and the kids. Alan found help with Dads in Distress when he needed it most.
Our 2020 vision
Every child has the best possible start in life
Our mission is to keep great dads alive
And in their children's lives
In a typical year, Australia's suicide rate just keeps increasing.
3 out 4 of those suicides are men, the largest part of which is men experiencing traumatic separation. Almost 42% of suicides that have factors identified, are separation related.
It is an odd fact that this group of people who are most at risk, also tend to be those that receive the least support, be that funding to provide practical (male friendly) support, be it media coverage for general awareness or voluntary effort.
Perhaps it's easier to sideline men but each will have family, friends and colleagues. People who care. People who are affected. Most of all, kids who are so dramatically and negatively impacted when a dad finds it too hard to keep going. These men, their kids deserve better.
Dads in Distress has successfully supported separating men since 1999. The support is male friendly, free, confidential and practical. It helps dads build resilience and to better self manage their situation. Importantly, it does not label or treat them as an individual with mental health issues. Over 20 years, we've learned this is critical to our success.
Each year, we prevent many suicides. Internal research suggests many hundreds. Mostly, we do it alone, with minimal funding and minimal public and professional awareness. Too few that need to find us will find us. Too few professionals know that we exist to refer those men to us.
This is why we have an empty chair at each meeting. To commemorate those dads that did not find us. The fallen sit in that chair amongst us, so it's not really empty but we'd rather the dad we remember was sat there with us at that moment. We will remember them, so will their children.
After 20 years, it's time for the lack of support and awareness to change.
We have a plan.
- 3 out 4 suicides are men
- 1-2 of those 4 of those men are separating
- Separating men are the largest single definable group of people who suicide (i.e. the most at risk)
- The above defines the greatest at risk groups, which also (ironically) attract least practical support
Our campaign starts with a 1yr plan
- Roll out of more & better ways to connect with separated dads both in real and virtual worlds
- With publics help, raise awareness to allow more people to find, use and help grow our support
- Research: a unique public report on the challenges and insights of separated fatherhood
- If resources allow, a short documentary to support the research / report
Help us to realise the vision
Be the future. Be the solution.
Raise funds or donate
We're one of Australia's most cost efficient charities. We respect and make every cent count. If you want to see your donation make a difference, we'll take it further than others.
Volunteer with us. There are many opportunities for most regardless of where you live, your background or what you are skilled at. Try us. Money can't buy happiness; saving lives can.
Lend us your voice!
We're conducting research into what it's like to be a separated dad. The factual challenges, personal stories, key insights. We need your voice! Register to be involved.