THERE is much talk in the media about prioritising mental health and in particular men’s mental health. Anecdotally, men are less likely to reach out for help or even talk to each other, but things are changing.
JewishCare’s family and child wellbeing team recognised the need to create a group specifically for men to support them through separation and divorce, and so the Men’s Post Separation Group was introduced to the community.
Rada Pantzer, the counsellor behind the creation of the group said, “Over the past few years, I have worked with more and more male clients who come to JewishCare for support after going through a separation and divorce. They come with similar issues – grief, frustrations, anger and loneliness. I would often think how validating and therapeutic it would be to start a men’s post-separation group, so that these men could share their stories, learn from others, and support and empathise with other men going through a similar experience.
“As a result, earlier this year we piloted a men’s post-separation group especially for Jewish men. To our knowledge there is no similar culturally specific support group in Sydney. Separation and divorce have huge impacts on our mental health. I liken it to a death and the grief is complicated. And divorce doesn’t just impact those going through it, it also has a profound impact on children, family, friends and the community,” Pantzer said.
“While some people experience relief after separating from their partner, this ‘relief’ soon turns to anger, resentment, grief, loss, loneliness and isolation. For example, you can’t attend your child’s birthday party because it doesn’t fall on your weekend, or your child no longer wants to come to your place because they don’t like your new partner, or you find yourself at a loss when you have so much time alone.” Research indicates that divorced men have a higher rate of mental ill health when compared to men who have never been married, widowed men, as well as divorced women.
Early intervention is key and JewishCare’s Men’s Post Separation Support Group is a free 10-week program. If you or anyone you know needs help, please reach to JewishCare on 1300 133 660.