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."
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
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
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."
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."