Men aged 40–54 have the highest suicide rates in the UK and local research has identified that one of the most common suicide ‘at risk’ groups in the Kent region are those experiencing relationship difficulties, specifically the breakdown of a long-term relationship or marriage.
Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ashford-based charity Dads Unlimited has continued to offer a range of services to support dads and their families. The charity provides practical support focused on helping dads plan and manage their contact with their children and offers free family court support. They also offer one-to-one mentoring with trained mentors providing telephone, email, and face-to-face support to help dads navigate family separation and understand their options to develop a positive co-parenting environment.
Nav Mirza established the charity to support dads in 2017 to provide the advice, support, and community that he didn’t have when going through a divorce.
Last year, Dads Unlimited delivered more than 6,100 hours of mentoring to help nearly 500 parents and supported 135 men with suicidal ideation and 153 male victims of domestic abuse. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a huge rise in demand for their support, with helpline calls rising from 578 a month pre-lockdown to 997 calls a month now.
The charity is one of the ten winners of the 2022 GSK IMPACT Awards. Katie Pinnock, Director of UK Charitable Partnerships at GSK, said, “Dads Unlimited is a young charity which has grown quickly and demonstrated huge impact in that time. Working to address an often-forgotten problem – the effect of family breakdown on men’s mental health – their innovative package of emotional support combined with practical advice and affordable legal services has proved effective in engaging dads who may have been reluctant to access other help. Their work has a clear focus on the needs they have identified, filling a gap in suicide prevention services, and people from across the country are now contacting them to access their support.”
Nav Mirza, Chief Executive, Dads Unlimited, said, “We are delighted to be one of the winners of a GSK IMPACT Award. The men who come to us feel like no one listens, no one understands, or worse, no one cares enough to even try.”