“A conversation with Leith Erikson, founder of Australian Brotherhood of Fathers (ABF), left me troubled. ABF started four years ago to attend family courts and connect with men in crisis. A series of awareness protests are running in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne.
“Men are too scared to ask for support when they need it most,” he said.
“They’re drowning in depression but they talk to a lawyer about getting access to their children through Family Court and they’re warned not to go to their GP.”
Obviously, I’m not a father, and have no plans to be one, let alone go through a child custody situation. What’s happening in Australia might well be happening in the US and everywhere else. It would not shock me in the least. But I’m not in that environment so I don’t know for sure what happens. Have any of you been given that same advice, to not seek out help for mental health issues because it will impact how the court views you as a parent? (Father or Mother?) This is the stigma we talk about, and why it matters. This isn’t just being overly sensitive to comments or words, this is a real life legal situation being decided because of a view that someone getting help with a mental health issue is dangerous, or incompetent.
That’s not right. That’s why we fight against stigma.
Photo by Pai Shih