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M.E.N.D.S. > Comments and Endorsements of the MENDS Program

Comments and Endorsements of the MENDS Program

Dr. George Burkitt
GP specialising in men's health and counselling, Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Recent past president NSW Men's Health & Wellbeing Association

"I have found that in the aftermath of separation, men may experience a vast array of new circumstances for which they are often poorly equipped. This integrated course is designed to meet the needs of the whole man, including relationships, child-rearing, legal, health & nutrition."

Steve Biddulph
Psychologist, family therapist and author (Manhood, Raising Boys and others)

"For over a decade, it's been clear to professionals in family welfare that the problems of men after separation are significant, and badly neglected. While marriage is our most critical social building block, over a third of marriages end, and abundant research shows that the effect on men, and therefore on women and children, is especially damaging.

Separated men increase in their suicide risk sixfold over the already high figures for that gender. Compared with women, they are thirteen times more likely to take their lives in the two years following marriage breakup. Re-marriage is even more likely to be unsuccessful. It's a rough time, with the risk for violence, unhappiness, and therefore stress on children, poor health, and other risks all being magnified,

Yet some men and women separate well, continue to grow and thrive, and children are cared for and come out of the experience unharmed. What are they doing right, and how can this be shared to others?

The MENDS program is simply the most promising community health measure to come along in this whole field. It capitalises on men's liking for structure and information, and at the same time through peer support reduces the likelihood of men acting in impulsive, or counterproductive ways. By reducing fear, giving clear structure, and doing so in an educative, group based way, it taps into men's responsiveness to peer pressure to be sensible, reflective, and not give in to fear and panic - which in men usually turn into combative or violent impulses.

It integrates a range of community resources which already exist but are underused, and means that men are able to then take advantage in a rational and calm way, of the normal mediation, legal, and social resources around them.

The program elements range from self-care, parenting, legal information, self-awareness, breaking out of stereotyped roles, which are taught in a factual way men prefer, and yet have an underlying tone of emotional support and care which breaks the long tradition of men's emotional isolation. MENDS is well named, and well conceived, and capable of being replicated as a model in hundreds of centres around the country where it would find a ready demand and a vitally useful place."

Michael Green QC
Author of "Fathers After Divorce"

"I consider that MENDS is the most positive and valuable program for separated men that I know."

Bettina Arndt
Psychologist, social commentator & columnist for Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

"How you handle this devastating time in your life will determine your future, particularly that all-important relationship with your children. Don't try to struggle through on your own. Other men have the experience to help you. MENDS is a much needed resource for our community."

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