Vital People: Reaching out to men in distress

Family Services of Greater Victoria is creating a new group program for men experiencing relationship breakdown.

Society has a view that men are stronger, but research in the past 20 years has suggested that men don’t adjust as well as women after the end of a relationship.  

“Men are more likely to commit suicide, more likely to develop addictions and mental-health problems, and more likely to lose employment after a divorce than women,” said Bruce McGuigan, executive director of the not-for-profit.

“While men are hit harder, they tend not to reach out for community services and don’t stay engaged in those services when they do.”

There are few programs that reach out to support men through the transition and fewer still that have documented evaluation protocols to gauge their effectiveness.

The Victoria Foundation has funded Family Services of Greater Victoria to research, design and pilot a post-divorce/ separation program for men.  

“It’s a huge benefit having the Victoria Foundation on board,” McGuigan said.

“Designing a program like this is expensive, and a substantial undertaking for a small non-profit, such as ourselves, to undertake. Having them share the cost of development makes it possible.”

Funding has allowed Family Services of Greater Victoria to interview men on their divorce experience and post-divorce adjustment.

But issues differ with age. At this time, the focus is on men who have children at the time of their separation, with other age groups to be tackled later.

A name for the program and when it will debut is yet to be announced.

Family Services of Greater Victoria began in 1978 as the Divorce Lifeline. The name has changed three times in the past 40 years to reflect the community’s changing needs.

It offers couples therapy, individual counselling not related to a recent divorce or separation, and children’s counselling services. It provides group sessions, counselling services, mediation services and family-law advocacy.

For more information, go to

article continues below

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist

Most Popular

Find out what's happening in your community.