Divorce and Suicide – A Necessary Conversation

Divorce and Suicide – A Necessary Conversation

Once again, the reality of suicide has infiltrated the daily news, with the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

Prominent suicides always propel this important issue to the forefront.

Suicide and divorce are no strangers. A heightened risk of suicide exists among the divorcing and divorced population. There are many reasons for this. I’m sure everyone can make a list.

The real question we should be asking is: how can we be made aware of such risks at various points within the process to reduce the incidence of suicide both before and after a divorce?

This is a legal blog, not a mental health blog, and it is important to understand the differences. The mental health field supports the family law field at all phases. This may include couples’ counseling to work on the health of a marriage, or that of each spouse; divorce counseling during the process itself; or child counseling. It can also include individual, child, and couples’ counseling following the divorce, as well as reunification counseling, trauma counseling, and grief counseling depending on the situation.

Undoubtedly, the court process can lead an already impaired individual to suicide. Within a family unit, one often knows which children and adults are at risk. I recall one long-time judge saying that anyone going through divorce is “temporarily insane,” and should seek intensive counseling before, during, and after the divorce process.

It’s not such a bad idea.

But there are challenges.

Far too often, one or both spouses say they “don’t believe” in counseling or the mental health process.

Additionally, courts frequently impart a “cookie cutter” mental health intervention onto the divorce and child custody process, without truly understanding the nature of the issues or attempting to find healthy solutions. Judges are no more mental health professionals than divorce attorneys, which can create problems.

Children of divorcing or divorced parents are instantly at high risk and can become even more so as a result of the divorce and child custody process.

Courts should continuously be focusing on their safety – both physical and mental.

Finding a divorce attorney is difficult enough. When mental health problems are present within a family, it is incredibly important to find counsel with a great deal of experience and empathy in regards to these issues.

Experienced divorce attorneys know the best—and the worst—mental health professionals. Limiting your search to mental health providers within your insurance plan can often be the difference between life and death. When it comes to mental health, there must be no shortcuts.

SIEGELLAW can help. Our attorneys are experienced in handling divorce cases with extremely complicated factors. Fill out the form to schedule a free consultation, or call us at 410-792-2300 to learn more.