Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Having a child with disability is the biggest stress to carry
Knowing that you can’t “fix the problem” is the biggest heartache you can bear
Becoming more aware of your child’s difficulty as they grow and thinking through the things that they may never do gets more and more crushing as time goes on and you keep praying for a miracle.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.
In 2015 we made up around 75% of all suicides in the UK.
The suicide statistics leave me baffled, amazed and terrified when combined with the fact that today we received a 3-month calendar for events from the children’s hospice we use in South Wales and in those 3 months there are 17 events scheduled for supporting Mum’s and 1 solitary event for Dad’s which is watching rugby in a pub in 2 and a half months’ time. I don’t like rugby, I don’t need rugby and rugby isn’t going to help in any way and neither is alcohol.
I need help
I get it, that we meet as Dad’s and we get a chance to talk a bit before the rugby takes over (or the alcohol for some) but this happening every 6 months just doesn’t ultimately help in any way. I also understand that Dad’s may not be so forthcoming regarding meet up’s or getting help and so things aren’t organised for them, but we’ve ended up in a spiral of “they won’t come so we don’t organise anything” and “We’ve got nothing to go to because you don’t organise anything”. However, with men committing suicide at such an alarming rate and these kinds of places handling the vulnerable Dads of the most vulnerable children can you afford not to organise something – even if nobody comes for months. How valuable would it be to help even 1 man below 45 who was going to be thinking about following so many other men into the modern suicide tragedy if left to cope on his own?
Of course, it’s not just the hospice
It’s also the hospitals (as explained in my last post) and other people that are supposed to help – staff in all these places often act as though Dad doesn’t exist. Help and support is offered to the mums, day trips and events are offered. Thousands of groups, websites and organisations exist to connect the Mums, but Dads have been forgotten, left at the side to carry the bags and drive the car – I can’t express enough how dangerous that can be. I even know people personally who tell me they are set on working with this organisation and that to deal with mental health in men and suicide prevention but their focus is entrepreneurial – they are more focused on linking to big names and making a name for themselves than actually helping – I can tell because they know all about the situation I’m in and didn’t offer even a genuine how are you doing?
Dad’s and men need genuine help, where will it come from.
I’ll close my blog/rant today with this – last night I was watching a documentary on the Strangeways prison riot. How the men in the prison weren’t treated humanely and decided to take over the prison and protest on the roof for several days. One of the people commenting on the event as they were looking back said “If we treat men like animals, we shouldn’t be surprised when the day comes that they behave like animals”. This made me think – If we treat Dad’s like they’re second class, we shouldn’t be surprised when they believe that they are and if we treat men like they are useless and invisible we shouldn’t be surprised when the day comes that they disappear.
Men we need to know we’re not alone in this, if you struggle with some of the feelings I’ve expressed don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you need to talk or if you want info on people who can help and offer some counselling.