A BRIEF HISTORY
In 2012 men completed suicide at a rate of over 5 per day, totaling 1901 that year. Comparatively the national road toll was 1310. Suicide was the number one killer of men under 44 years, with the highest death rate in the 35-49 years age group.
Separated men are at high risk of suicide due to many factors, including the pervasive shame they experience when their relationships fail and the displacement and dislocation from family and social supports.
How we got started (as told by founder Tony Miller OAM)
"From a small meeting on a veranda in Coffs Harbour in 1999 a group of dads in distress met. We didn't know what we were doing only that we couldn't find any help for our circumstances. We met in the 'empty time' on a Sunday night after we had returned our children after weekend access and faced the coming fortnight alone without them. It was there we shared our pain. For those of us with thoughts of ending our lives it gave us a reason to continue. By sitting there on the veranda, telling our story and listening to others gave us hope for the future. We simply allowed each person to have his say without interruption, without giving advice and without judgement. Somehow that process provided the relief we all needed. We were strengthened by the knowledge that our grief was normal and that someone understood our pain.
On our journey we soon developed our motto of there being three sides to every story, his, hers and the truth. And somewhere on the journey we come to that truth.
It can be very painful for some men to realise that they had contributed to their problems but also very empowering. An acknowledgement of the role they played in the relationship failure is the first step to recovery. Night after night we saw the miracles take place. Of dads who were filled with anger, remorse, bitterness, depression, loneliness, helplessness and who were often suicidal suddenly turn a corner.
'Dad's in Distress' was born".
Ten years on…
- DIDs has had a positive impact for literally thousands of families, saving untold men from the brink of suicide and reuniting many children with their fathers, grandparents and extended families.
- DIDs Support Groups and field workers are in just about every State in Australia, operated by almost 100 volunteers who are supported by a small number of funded support staff and a voluntary Board of Directors.
- DIDs operates a Helpline during office hours to support men around the country.
- DIDs representatives participate in a host of national, state and local partnerships, initiatives and networks. DIDs are highly regarded as key stakeholders by the Department of Social Services, the Family Law Pathways Network, and Men and Family Relationship Services.
- DIDs is a registered harm prevention charity funded largely by the Federal Government.
Through its website and social media activity DIDs contributes to a global community of like-minded groups, assisting dads in distress throughout the world.
While there is still much to be done, Australia is indebted to Founder Tony Miller, and the many faithful men and women that have laboured and toiled at great personal cost to create this amazing legacy. As the level of professionalism and corporate excellence continues to increase, let us never forget their sacrifice and spirit that has enabled Dads in Distress Inc overcome many obstacles to lay the foundation we are now building upon. In 2011 Tony stepped back and handed over the reins to others who are charged with the task of taking DIDs to a new level.