Christmas can be a lonely time for separated men.
Christmas can be a lonely time for separated men. Sarah Keayes

Mens helpline expecting 8000 calls this holiday season

LONELY Aussie blokes separated from their wives and families are expected to make more than 8000 calls this holiday season.

MensLine Australia said special days like Christmas increased distress, both on the day itself and for the weeks to come.

The extreme isolation and emotional pain many men feel is immediately apparent when they reach out for help and contact MensLine Australia.

Randal Newton-John of MensLine Australia explains many separated fathers are devastated by the inability to see or live with their children.

"Traditionally the festive season is about giving, sharing and spending time with the family but for men whose family has fallen apart, it can be a time of acute loneliness and even distress as they compare this season to happier years," said Randal.

Tensions over access to children are often intensified, with many fathers concerned they won't be able to see their children and worried about how their children will cope without them.

"Separated men and families can also experience financial stress over the festive season and worry whether they have given enough to their children.

"The common consumption of alcohol over this period can lead to increased family violence," Randal added.

More Australian men are realising that talking about their concerns and options can help them to better cope with their situation.

Men can choose to call MensLine Australia, have a counselling session via online chat, or do video counselling via Skype.

MensLine Australia counsellors suggest the following tips for separated dads to reduce the pressure, both during the festive season, and throughout the year:

• Moving or 'handing -over' is often a difficult time for separated families. Schedule 'hand overs' to occur at neutral locations

•  Create opportunities to really engage with your children both surrounding Christmas and throughout the year. Playing sport, going on day trips, or creating backyard masterpieces are ways to create positive memories for you AND your children.

• If you can't physically be with your children, be part of their lives through letters, emails, sms, phone calls and photos. Let them know what's been happening in your life and that you care about what's been happening in their lives

WHAT IS MENSLINE?

MensLine Australia is the only national professional telephone support and information service for men.

Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the service receives more than 40,000 calls each year.

MensLine Australia is provided by On the Line.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 or www.mensline.org.au



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