Canadian Children's Rights Council
Conseil canadien des droits des enfants
Father Suicide Canada

National Post

Father's suicide becomes rallying cry for fairness in court

National Post, by Donna Laframboise, Saturday, April 01, 2000


Fred Greenslade, National Post
Lillian White, centre, and family members watch as the coffin of her son, Darrin White, who killed himself, is carried to a hearse yesterday. "It didn't have to happen," relatives at his funeral said.

BRANDON, Man. - Thirty-five years ago today, Lillian White gave birth to her youngest son. Yesterday, she knelt down and kissed his coffin at his graveside.

Darrin White committed suicide two weeks ago in Prince George, B.C., after a judge ordered him to pay his estranged wife twice his take-home pay in child support and alimony each month.

In death he has become a poignant symbol of family courts gone awry, of a divorce system run by people with closed minds, hard hearts and deaf ears.

Across the country last evening, activists held candlelight vigils in memory of men such as Darrin. During his funeral Mass, Father Leo Fernandes of St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church urged Darrin's friends to continue the struggle to which he succumbed.

Like those who completed Puccini's last opera after his death, Father Fernandes said people close to Darrin should ask themselves: "What are you going to do about it? Hopefully, there is more.It is up to you, his friends, to accomplish what he was unable to. If his dream was to challenge the scales of justice in our country, then so be it. Do it for his sake."

Darrin wasn't a complicated man. He liked taking nature walks and enjoyed cycling. He read books about the outdoors and loved animals. He was a certified locomotive engineer who earned his living driving trains first for Canadian National, then the British Columbia railway.

When his marriage fell apart in January, Darrin found himself in a situation shared by many men. While he had worked long hours doing what society told him a father was supposed to do -- bringing home the bacon -- his devotion became a strike against him.

In a country that still treats children as prizes to be "won" in divorce court rather than as human beings entitled to close contact with both of their parents, the fact that Darrin had not spent as much time with his children as his homemaker wife was deemed sufficient reason to award her sole custody.

Suddenly alone, compelled to leave his home with less than 48 hours' notice, expected to come up with rent money as well as lawyers' retainers, and missing shifts at work due to court dates, Darrin found himself criticized for not paying his estranged wife (who, unlike him, was eligible for social assistance) child support during this chaotic period.

Perhaps, during these weeks, it began to dawn on Darrin how vulnerable his relationships with his children, aged five , nine and 10 had now become (his oldest child, aged 14, from a previous relationship lives with her mother in Saskatchewan). Perhaps other divorced dads told Darrin of former wives brainwashing their kids against them, frustrating court-ordered child access while suffering no legal consequences, and behaving as though the kids should call every new boyfriend "dad."

All divorced mothers don't behave this way, of course, but enough do to make such fears reasonable. Yet society provides no services to help loving, responsible, traumatized dads deal with such stresses.

Researchers have known for decades that divorce is much harder on men than it is on women. We know that men who undergo marital breakdown experience significantly higher rates of suicide, mental illness, physical health problems and accidents than do women. Yet we remain indifferent to their anguish.

Suicides directly related to divorced men's harsh treatment at the hands of courts and governments have been taking place for at least a decade in this country. In the words of Peter Ostrowski, an activist with the Prince George-based Parent-Child Advocacy Coalition, who tried to help him in the weeks preceding his death, men such as Darrin "have nowhere to turn. They are an ignored part of society. If they're older and they find themselves in such situations, they develop health problems. If they're young, they'll often react with either violence against others or violence against themselves."

At Darrin's funeral yesterday, his relatives returned to one theme again and again. His death was so unnecessary, they said. So pointless. "It didn't have to happen," they said.

To echo Father Fernandes, "So what are we, the Canadian people, going to do about it?"

Copyright © Southam Inc.

Family Conflict and Suicide Rates Among Men

by Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D. June 9-10, 1995

Violence and Abuse within the Family: The Neglected Issues

A public hearing sponsored by The Honourable Senator Anne C. Cools on June 9-10, 1995 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Transcript of Dr. Hazel McBride's presentation on the relationship between family conflict and suicide rates among men.  Read More ..

SUICIDE

Reasons Why Young Men Commit Suicide

PA News, U.S.A., By John von Radowitz, Science Correspondent, September 28, 2003

Broken marriages, living a single life and lack of income are the three factors chiefly to blame for a surge in suicides among young men, a new study has shown.

Suicide rates in England and Wales have doubled for men under 45 since 1950, but declined among women and older age groups of both sexes.

Researchers trying to discover why found that between 1950 and 1998 there were worsening trends for many suicide risk factors.

These included marital break up, birth and marriage declines, unemployment and substance abuse.

But those most associated with young men aged 25 to 34 were divorce, fewer marriages, and increases in income inequality. Read More ..

Teen depression on the increase in U.K.- teen suicide statistics

Teen depression on the increase

More and More teens are becoming depressed. The numbers of young people suffering from depression in the last 10 years has risen worryingly, an expert says.

BBC, UK, August 3, 2004

Government statistics suggest one in eight adolescents now has depression.

Unless doctors recognise the problem, Read More ..uld slip through the net, says Professor Tim Kendall of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.

Guidelines on treating childhood depression will be published next year. Professor Kendall says a lot Read More ..eds to be done to treat the illness.  Read More ..

invisible suicides

Invisible Suicides

StatsCan recently reported on a 10% increase in suicides. But StatsCan persists in ignoring the group of Canadians at greatest risk for suicide, as do the media and professional reports.

Suicide is a microcosm for those most under stress and most at risk of unresolved crisis in society. Suicides may logically be categorized as 100% citizens of Canada, and then as 79% male. The most critical measure of depression - suicide - is counted overwhelmingly in male corpses. For over 23 years widespread media and professional attention concentrated on 12,500 AIDS deaths, compared to little concern with 92,000 suicides.  Read More ..

National Post logo

Quebec men more likely to commit suicide than women

Rate is especially high among baby boomers, statistics reveal. Read More ..

Centre for Suicide Prevention

Centre for Suicide Prevention 

The Centre for Suicide Prevention has three main branches:

The Suicide Information & Education Collection (SIEC) is a special library and resource centre providing information on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

The Suicide Prevention Training Programs (SPTP) branch provides caregiver training in suicide intervention, awareness, bereavement, crisis management and related topics. Suicide Prevention

Research Projects (SPRP)  advocates for, and supports research on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

Presentation to the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs of the House of Commons concerning Bill C-68 - Firearms Act.

by Brian L. Mishara, Ph.D. Past President, Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention and Professor of Psychology at the Université du Québec a Montréal.   Read More ..

CYF project halves child suicide rate

The New Zealand Herald, BY LEAH HAINES, October 10, 2004

A three-year project by welfare and health agencies has halved the rate of suicide among some of the country's most at-risk children.

Researchers say the project has the potential to put a massive dent in New Zealand's youth suicide rate - currently the highest in the developed world.

The results of the Towards Well Being suicide monitoring project were due to be presented to an international conference on youth suicide this weekend and are expected to gain global attention. Read More ..

Family Conflict and Suicide Rates Among Men

by Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D. June 9-10, 1995

Violence and Abuse within the Family: The Neglected Issues

A public hearing sponsored by The Honourable Senator Anne C. Cools on June 9-10, 1995 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Transcript of Dr. Hazel McBride's presentation on the relationship between family conflict and suicide rates among men.  Read More ..