Divorce is a mental health issue.
Katie Price is currently in the midst of a bitter divorce with ex-husband Kieran Hayler after several cheating allegations.
The mum-of-five even admitted to drinking alcohol to escape her depression, and revealed she sought medical help to see her through her darkest period. She was very recently arrested for drink driving.
It was revealed that Katie might have to sell her mansion in Horsham, West Sussex, which she previously shared with Kieran, in order to ‘pay off huge debts.’ (i)
But for many people divorcing, mental health issues can be far more serious.
One study by the National Institute for Healthcare Research indicates that divorced people are three times as likely to die by suicide as people who are married.
Devastation of divorce
When a person is really feeling the pain of divorce, what they do NOT need are well-meaning friends and colleagues telling them to ‘get a grip’ or to ‘pull themselves together’.
When the ‘pain’ stage of divorce hits home, it’s tougher than you can imagine, if you have been lucky enough never to experience it. Getting through daily life feels like trying to juggle 5 balls in the air when you’ve just lost an arm. Or walking a 10 mile hike when someone’s run off with one of your legs. And the Shock and Anger have now passed so you have nothing to block out the pain, and you are really beginning to feel it.
A friend of mine was so blown apart by the pain she had to be taken to hospital on a stretcher, where she was given antidepressants to numb the horror of it all. But she wasn’t depressed – she was in emotional agony – and pills weren’t going to help her in the long term.
According to a 2013 survey, divorce makes men feel devastated, betrayed, confused and even suicidal, while, it claims, women are more likely to feel relieved, liberated and happy following a split.
The most striking aspect of the research, commissioned by Yorkshire Building Society, was that men were shown to suffer more emotional trauma than women, following a marital break-up. More than two years after a divorce, 41 per cent of men were still sad about the failure of their marriage; for women the figure was 33 per cent. (ii)
The Children Suffer Too
(Adult) children of divorce are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than children from normal homes. (viii)
And it’s not just the adults who feel the pain. In the UK, between 15,000 and 20,000 couples go to court to resolve child access disputes each year. In a divorce survey by Mischcon de Reya, a quarter of parents said the process traumatised their children so much that they self-harmed or were suicidal. (iv)
More girls whose parents had divorced report self-harm compared with those whose parents had not divorced. (vii)
It is estimated that one in three children see their parents separate before the age of 16. (v)
A study published in January by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, “The Effects of Divorce on Children,” by Patrick F. Fagan and Aaron Churchill, showed that even as adults, those who experienced divorce as children experience more emotional and psychological problems compared to those from intact families.
“Divorce wreaks havoc on the psychological stability of many children,” the study found. It referred to research carried out on seventh and eighth grade students that showed parental divorce was the third most stressful life event of a list of 125 life events. It was only surpassed by the death of a parent or close family member. (vi)
Children from broken homes make up 80 per cent of the population of Britain’s psychiatric institutions. They are also more likely to suffer sexual abuse, are more disruptive and less academically able at school, more inclined later to become criminals and to end up unemployed or in low-paid jobs. (ix)
“The good news is, that by guiding your friends and colleagues away from a nasty divorce process that damages their kids, and towards healthier ways to divorce, you will be helping that family to be a healthy and happy one in the longer term. It’s sometimes the contested court-based divorce process itself that directly traumatises both men and women so much, that they take their own lives.
In Canada, divorcee Rich Saunders killed himself on Sept. 28, 2008 after he brought a lit barbecue into a bedroom and sealed the doors, window and air vents.
“Had the legal proceedings been less stressful and/or had the measures taken by the authorities been more effective in reducing the stressful environment then the outcome may well have been different,” Provincial Court Judge McIlhargey said in the ensuing report.
What made this tragedy even greater, was that Saunders didn’t just kill himself, but his three year old son along with him.
Divorce is traumatic. People need to be fully prepared emotionally and psychologically, and to do their homework and understand the more peaceful ways to navigate family separation.
I am running another Best Way To Split Retreat™ – which is designed to provide the information and inspiration needed to navigate a less combattive divorce – via workshops with a range of experts. This event is not for couples, but for individuals dealing with separation at any stage who will benefit from a weekend away – some ‘me’ time – in the beautiful Sussex countryside, combining holistic relaxation, gathering vital information to save wasting thousands on a divorce-gone-wrong, and learning practical tools to change the way their family changes form.
The focus is on keeping the attendees emotionally and psychologically resilient to what might be a harrowing journey, and remaining focused on putting their children’s welfare at the centre of the ‘Divorce Strategy Plan™’ they will be creating at the event. Some attendees may even want to draft their own ‘Co-Parenting Peace Treaty™’.
Workshops during the weekend range from learning more about mediation and other forms of dispute resolution, co-parenting after separation, financial strategies, relationship skills, dealing with domestic abuse, nutrition and even crystal healing.
Sometimes a well-managed divorce is the best things for the children, as it was for this member of the Best Way To Divorce Facebook Group:
“My youngest daughter who’s now 13 was riddled with anxiety for the last lot of years of my marriage after witnessing constant arguing and hatred between myself and my ex husband. I have no contact with him now but both my daughter’s do see him once a week. Within a couple of months of the split not only myself but other people noticed the change in both my children. I can honestly say they are two very happy, healthy and loving girls who I am immensely proud of ❤. Everyday when I look at them I am so proud of the decision I made!” LM
It’s not divorce that’s the issue – it’s the way we divorce that causes the mental health problems.
To find out more and to register for the free event brochure, click here:
The Best Way To Split Retreat™ (and how to get a nasty divorce back on track) is run as a collaboration of professionals, experts and support organisations who all want to help the families of those individuals who attend to find a better way for those families to change form. www.bestwaytodivorce.co.uk
Divorce Strategist Suzy Miller has collaborated with the Ministry Of Justice in helping to promote Dispute Resolution and educate couples on how to have a more peaceful divorce. She is the creator of the UK’s first Divorce Fair and campaigns for better ways to divorce and now, the creator of the UK’s “Best Way To Split Retreat™”.
For more information about the event, visit www.bestwaytodivorce.co.uk
Phone: 07525 059 634
(vii) Self-harm in adolescents: self-report survey in schools in Scotland
(viii) (Velez-Cohen, – Suicidal Behavior and Ideation in a Community Sample of Children -Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1988)