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Ending it all: divorce and suicide

Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday (September 10), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has summarised its latest statistics on the prevalence of this drastic act.

A total of 4,941 people ended their lives in England and Wales last year, the ONS explains, noting that the three demographic groups most at risk are: divorced people, men, and those living in economically disadvantaged areas. This naturally places divorced men in a particularly invidious position: in 2015 they were close three times more likely to take their own lives (27.4 per 100,000 compared to 9.6 per 100,000 divorced women).

The ONS quotes insights from the Samaritans into what puts men at particular risk. Amongst the key factors, they claim, are social isolation following divorce or separation; social expectations regarding masculinity; and the decline of once male-dominated industries across large swathes of the country.

Divorce can cut both spouses off from support networks and the family-orientated norms of the society around them, the charity explains.

“In addition, within western societies there is a strong cultural emphasis on achieving a strong and happy marriage, and those who divorce may experience a deep sense of disorientation, shame, guilt and emotional hurt.”

Read more here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Stitchedup says:

    “The ONS quotes insights from the Samaritans into what puts men at particular risk. Amongst the key factors, they claim, are social isolation following divorce or separation; social expectations regarding masculinity; and the decline of once male-dominated industries across large swathes of the country.”
    Glossing over the truth, the main reasons are being left broken and desolate after divorce and loss of contact with children as a result of bias and heavy handed treatment against men in the courts and parents alienation. Leave a man with a chance of putting a roof over his head so that hr can.accommodate his children and nip parents alienation in the bud and I’m.sure you’ll find male suicide rates will plummet. The masculinity point is just trying to put the blame on the fictitious patriarchy.

  2. Paul says:

    This is a massive massive issue which does not get the coverage an attention it deserves.
    I applaud you for raising it. But I fear this goes much deeper than devorce and they are all closely related issues.
    There are thousands of men who have DIRECTLY implicated the ‘family law proccess’ and the ‘Child support service’ as direct contributers the decission to take their own lives. Named in suicide letters or to last desperate calls to the samaritans.
    There is a document on the internet called the book of the dead which is a testiment to all those who have named the child support service as contributing to their mortality.
    I am very pleased you have addressed the broader issue of male suicide over devorce.
    However. This does side step the more specific area where the legal feild share some responsablility.
    They say the cause is social issolation. If the child support agency took a chunk of money from a mans wage. This stops his capacity to be social or to go out.
    I would very much like you to present an article with the facts and figures relating to suicide as a direct result of ‘family court’ intervention/decission.
    Because you have been bold enough to present articles clamouring for tougher Child Support enforcement.
    I would very much like you to present an article reguarding ‘suicides’ as a direct result of intervention by the child support service.
    How do people in the legal field view these deaths ?
    Do people in the field take any responsability for these deaths ?
    Are the systems in place responsible for these dealths ?
    Are legal professionals taking steps to ensure their clients are sound of mind or have access to support ?
    Is that part of their job ? To what extent are legal professionals or the DWP staff responsible for what is going in the system?
    Its clear the systems in place are taking lives.
    Are these deaths continuing after the ‘rebranding’ of the CSA ?
    This is an issue which needs deep discussion if we are to stop this from happening.
    100,000 is far far to many deaths. The dismantling of the CSA could well explain the drop in number of suicides.
    This needs discussion in parliment. If this was 100000 children dying each year we would have had the debate. If it was 100000 women dying each year femanists would have made sure we had the debate. Its 100000 men dying oh its ok we can wait see if it comes down at all.
    I say again until it is recognised as fact ‘Institutional Sexism’ is taking place. The UK does not value its men as it should.

    • John Neyer says:

      Hello Paul,
      I realize this post is a couple of years old but thought you may still be monitoring and able to give me some insight. I’m an American writer working on a book about a man who lost contact with his daughter during the years of 2003-2006. His is an interesting story of his wife failing to show up for contact sessions for 21 months and simply not having the child available because of bogus claims of the child being ill or any number of other excuses. At that time, he had no recourse. Multiple contact hearings produced no results.
      My question is do you have any statistics or thoughts about the Family Law courts and the procedures of them in the timeframe I mentioned above? The links you put in the original posting are no longer available. My email is [email protected] if you can help me in my search.
      Thank you, John

  3. Paul says:

    4941 is the figure I should have used not 100000. Think I was mistakenly quoting another article. 4941 is too many deaths.

  4. Paul says:
    I thought this might provide figures for comparison to settle our dispute about the number of deaths attributed to the CSA.
    The FOI request clearly asks the people at the CSA if the figure of ‘18% of their clients commit suicide’ is accurate. The CSA decline to answer. You would be forgiven for assuming that the figure was more accurate than they would like it to be.
    It also asks them to provide figures for males and females using their service who commit suicide. I have looked at the FIO their response and they have clearly not supplied those figures.
    Read into that what you will.
    The figure of 18% is clearly horrific. On top of that there will be attempted suicides. Self harming and psycological illness.
    Not a very good advert for the system.
    Clearly an FOI diaclosure may not settle the diapute. I wonder if such a FIO request presued by a soliciter? A carefully worded letter as is your craft which could not evade giving a direct answer might get a reaponse.
    You must be currious Cameron ?
    Clearly its not just me leveling these complaints at these services.

  5. Paul says:

    This directly mentions suicides. An guess what its all men. Who would have guessed it.

  6. H says:

    Divorce Rape is definitely part of the suicide problem. The legal system allows even a cheating wife to take your house, savings, ongoing maintenance and child support – combined with current house prices this cripples a man for the rest of his life – he is unlikely to ever be able to start again so suicide is the only way to end the ongoing suffering and legalized slavery with no future that divorced men face. An ex-wife can take another man in to the house the ex-husband is being forced to pay for and he has no recourse in the law – this is evolutionary and psychological death to a man. If the law abolished all divorce settlements, asset stripping and alimony / maintenance you would see suicide rates significantly drop among divorced men. It’s bad enough child support is taken out of pre-tax earnings and isn’t reasonably capped to something like the average salary so you could end up paying a huge amount more than what children were costing you while married, and then you’re paying 40% tax + NI on money you aren’t even receiving because you had to give that gross sum as child support. Until the law changes MGTOW is the future for all men to avoid getting destroyed. You have literally no legal control, the second you are married your ex-wife can attack you in court indefinitely for the rest of your life even after you had a consent order done (eg. Mills vs Mills). The costs of legal defense alone will hurt the man further and an ex-wife can do this any time using the law to abuse a man if he tries to form a new relationship with another women. My ex-wife is doing this to me right now.

  7. ANON says:

    GOING THROUGH A DIVORCE RIGHT NOW…..she has stopped me seeing my kids as i have mental health problems made worse by not being able to see my kids …… i only eat once a day as the money situation is crippling me …… and i have expressed the want to end it all to my doctor and my manager ….. my manager understands as he has gone through the same thing…… i have a tiny box room that i can barely afford yet she has the 4 bedroom house I BOUGHT with my inheratance from my parents death …… how can that be right i ask you

    • Sally Shakespeare says:

      Hi. Sorry you are going through a difficult time. I have passed your comments to our Client Care team who may be able to offer you advice if you need it. Best wishes

      • Christopher Doran says:

        Hi Sally,

        Thank you for your comments, I have recently completed a 4year, 3 months divorce, my friend following the same process took his own life, I am currently undertaking a L4 Diploma counselling course, and will leave my corporate job to help men going through this process, my question, if you could forward to your care team, do law firms track suicide of individuals going through this process, as I have referenced, Samaritans, law society and office of national statistics and they don’t break this down. Stowe seems a forward thinking organisation, this is something I am writing a thesis on.

  8. Mark says:

    I am too going through a divorce. After nearly 20 years of marriage my wife had been having an affair for nearly a year. At present I have lost my family home, family car, she has taken nearly all the savings and tried to make several allegations of assault (which were proven by law to be false) yet here I am fighting to see my kids, paying for stuff I can’t afford? The first thing my solicitor said when I sat down was “let me tell you, the law is not fair” something seriously needs to change. I have spent in excess of 14k in legal fees and haven’t even got to court yet. In my humble opinion you enter into a marriage 50/50 and you should both leave 50/50 with equal rights and finances along with the kids. Men have to pay so much money to support their kids and ex wives they have no chance of ever recreating a life they once had. It is simply wrong.

    • Christopher Doran says:


      Sorry to hear your me too, 20 year married, I decided to leave and paid heavy cost, 4years 3 months to be precise and a very difficult Ex 65,000 legal fees 250,000 to the ex, no children. The law is weight to the wife, law is a business, to which they capitalise its also a very archaic old establishment which would be hard to change, its unfair, unjust.

      • . says:

        My two children are grown, one 20 at Uni, the other 23 and living independently.
        I’m 58, and am now very, very tired, having had physically and mentally demanding jobs from age 16 when I left school, including 16 years in the military. I’m completely burnt out physically and mentally.
        My wife is 3 years younger than me and continually states I cannot retire at 60, because her pensions aren’t great, meaning she can’t retire at the same time as me….. “I went part time to raise our children”. That was a choice she made. I wanted to go part time and stay at home, but it was decided, by everyone, except me, that it would be better for my kids if it was my wife that “sacrificed” her career. Apparently, breast is best doesn’t just apply to feeding infants because “men shouldn’t stay home looking after children, that’s a mother’s responsibility”).
        As a result, even though my wife now earns more than me, my pension pots are bigger.
        There are many, many reasons why I consider we’re in a failed marriage and we’d be better off divorced (0 intimacy for +10 years and a hostile home environment with derision and contempt openly displayed towards me).
        Put simply, I can’t afford to move out of the marital home, that I’ve paid the mortgage on for over 25 years, and start over again, especially given UK legislation and the impact on my income and pension pots.
        I consider myself completely screwed.
        I can’t afford, financially, to get divorced and I can’t go on, mentally, with staying in a toxic relationship with no love, respect or empathy – apparently I’m only here to pay the mortgage, the council tax, the life insurance, the home insurance , the water rates etc.
        Bottom line is I can’t see how can keep on living this shit life and I can’t afford to breakaway and start a new life, financially, physically or mentally, where I will have to work full time until I die, just to put a roof over my head, food on the table and have a strained relationship with my children.
        The only way out for me, that I can see, is to get my will drafted in an iron clad way so my kids get everything, even if in trust for now.
        The way UK family law is weighted towards women and treats men as a cash cow is horrific.
        Why is it that fairness and justice seem to be at complete odds with the British Judicial system when it comes to the way men are treated compared to women? If women were treated as badly there would (rightly) be a national outcry.

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