Like many, we at Fathers and Families Center have felt the stinging pain of losing loved ones to suicide. Since September is National Suicide Prevention Month, we are using the opportunity to explore how fatherhood issues intersect with suicide.
Many of the fathers we serve are divorced or non-custodial parents who, according to a 2000 University of California study, are twice as likely to commit
suicide than married men. We often hear from fathers who, unable to be a daily presence in the lives of their children, long to play a bigger role in their life. This longing, created by the separation of father and child, is the main reason for the higher rates of suicide (University of California, 2000). It is critical for the mental health of non-married fathers to have regular contact with their children, their life could even depend on it. That is why reuniting fathers with their children is always first in mind for our staff.
Suicide is related to fatherhood in one more key way. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, children from fatherless homes are twice as likely to commit suicide than their peers from two-parent homes. In addition, a full 63% of all youth suicides happen to children from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). We often talk about the many societal ills that are heavily correlated with lack of father engagement, suicide is no different. The more present and engaged a father can be, the less likely it is that their child will die from suicide.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, you are not alone, and there is help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. You can also send a text message to 741-741. If it is an emergency, call 911. Also, you can visit our resources page to find of a variety of mental health services available in and around Marion County.