Pictured are regional registry manager, James Cotta; Family Court of Australia Chief Justice, Diana Bryant; and Interrelate chi
Pictured are regional registry manager, James Cotta; Family Court of Australia Chief Justice, Diana Bryant; and Interrelate chi

MUMS JOIN DADS IN CALL FOR HELP

By MEL MARTIN

DIVORCE and separation is extremely stressful for both partners, and can sometimes end tragically.

But it's particularly distressing for children, and that's not something Tony Miller can just sit back and watch.

So, the founder of Dads in Distress (DIDS), with his team of volunteers, has decided to expand his support service and create Mums in Distress (MIDS).

"We receive thousands and thousands of calls from all over the country, not just from dads but also from mums searching for some help for themselves," Mr Miller said.

"The feedback is mums are not getting that help, because no other organisation offers this type of support -that is a safe place where people can share their feelings."

And Mr Miller says that support is crucial for men and women alike.

"I always thought women shared a lot more with friends, but they often feel very isolated and feel they don't have anyone to talk to when going through a divorce," he said.

"It's a little like holding a glass of water. You'd be okay holding it up for 30 minutes, after two hours you might get a sore arm, but after 24 hours, someone is likely to be calling an ambulance ? same weight, same burden.

"It's the same with emotions, the longer you pent them up, the worse they become, and if you store up all that bitterness, grief and anger, it eats you from the inside."

Now that Mums in Distress support groups have started in Coffs Harbour, Mr Miller is set to expand it across the country, only limited by funding and volunteer help.

"Once word gets out, it's going to go through the roof, because it's so desperately needed," he said.

"We had the first meeting on Monday, and had about eight people attending. And that's even before we did any promotion."

Mr Miller also hopes in the future to bring DIDS and MIDS together in mediated groups to talk and help them understand what each is feeling and going through.

"And something that's been in my heart for a long time is to start a KIDS ? Kids in Distress," he said.

"MIDS is a huge step forward for mums and dads, but mostly for children, because there are no winners in divorce, only losers."

Dads in Distress, which has 25 groups across Australia, and now Mums in Distress, which is in need of female volunteers, offer support for people going through the trauma of relationship breakdown, separation and divorce, often offering suicide intervention.

Mums in Distress support groups will be held every Monday at 12pm at the Mud Huts, Duke Street, Coffs Harbour.

For more information visit www.dadsindistress.asn.au

Clients and potential volunteers can access the service by calling 1300 853 437.



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