As the world commemorated International Men’s Day, a leading campaigner against parental alienation revealed his harrowing battle to stop estranged parents from killing themselves.
Andrew John Teague, co-organiser of National Association of Alienated Parents and D.A.D.s (Dads against double standards), told how an estranged dad hanged himself a few days before the international event.
He said: “I was on the phone with a member and someone he knows hanged himself. It had me in tears.”
International Men’s Day is commemorated worldwide to raise awareness about men who are making a positive difference – but to also raise awareness of issues that men face on a global scale.
Andrew, from Swansea, said: “It’s almost an epidemic – I’ve not heard from one I spoke to a couple of nights ago who was taken into hospital.
“In the case of parental alienation, how do you cope with knowing your not seeing you children for Christmas and not even knowing when you will ever see them?
“It cripples me having to deal and help these vulnerable parents.
“I’m not ashamed to say I have had tears roll down my face.
“There needs to be reform before more and more become just another statistic.
“It’s barbaric the way these parents are treated.”
But Andrew also points out that it’s not only dads who are driven to end it all. He has had to deal with mums and grandparents who feel they’ve reached the end of the line. He said: “A mum was rushed into hospital lucky to be alive. She had to be revived. She has endured over four years fighting for her children.
“I can understand what the mother of the two children has gone through, heart-breaking.
“But I can only imagine the pain, hurt and suffering the family must feel seeing their daughter in this condition and feeling powerless to do anything.
“How many more need to go through this? It’s hell on earth for any parent, grandparent and family members.”
The number of grandparents taking their own lives after being cut off from their grandchildren has been highlighted by an MP.
Nigel Huddleston says that at least ten people have killed themselves following family splits. Campaigners want the law changed so kids have a right to see their grandparents.
Mr Huddleston told MPs of the tragedies at a Westminster debate. Grandparents have no real control over access and growing numbers are turning to the courts for help. But for some the battle is just too much.
Andrew, “I have spoken to 100 or so members in the last year who have been suicidal and I know of many who have survived overdoses and self-medication with alcohol.
“The awful thing is that many parents become alienated from their children because of manipulation and lies and because of the unfairness of it all and anxiety if it all they get depressed – and their depression is used against them by social workers in court to prove their not fit to be parents!”
In the UK, men are three times more likely than women to take their own lives, according to emotional support charity Samaritans and a campaigning group claims suicide is the highest cause of death among men under the age 45 in the UK.
Project 84, a campaign aimed at raising awareness, recently staged 84 human sculptures in Central London, representing the reality of the men who sadly take their lives each week.