Safeguarding Your Mental Health During and After Divorce

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Many people going through divorce experience feelings of fear, sadness, loss and depression. Out of concern for the impact seeking help for these feelings may have on custody disputes, some people choose not to seek help, which may only make matters worse.

The loss of a marriage and change in family is a traumatic experience. If you are going through a divorce, know that seeking help for feelings of depression and sadness is normal and reasonable, even for those seeking custody of their children. Needing to talk to someone, or even to take antidepressants, is common. There is no reason to avoid seeking treatment.

In 2019, the suicide rate in Massachusetts was 9.7 deaths per 100,000 residents. Research reflects that up to 20% of those in Massachusetts who committed suicide experienced an intimate partner issue, such as divorce, break-up or conflict in their relationship in the months or weeks prior to death. Even after the divorce is over, there is evidence that divorced and separated people have higher suicide rates than married people. Of divorced people, divorced men commit suicide at rates 9 times higher than that of divorced women.  It has been suggested, though not proven, that because courts still put greater weight on the relationship between mother and child as compared to father and child, at the end of a divorce, a man may not have only lost his spouse but also, to a large degree, his children.  This can lead to sadness, anger, bitterness, anxiety and depression.

If you are having feelings of hopelessness or are considering suicide, help is available.  Please reach out.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Samaritans Statewide Hotline:
Call or Text: 1-877-870-HOPE (4673)

The Trevor Helpline:
866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386)
Specifically for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth and young adults

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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