Men are also a large part of the growing crisis in the American family. Studies report that parents today spend 40% less time with their
children than did parents in 1965. Men are increasingly isolated from their families by work and divorce. A recent poll indicated that men are increasingly unhappy about this situation. In the poll, 72% of employed male
respondents agreed that they are "torn by conflict" between their jobs and the desire to be with their families. Yet, men are still responsible for bringing in 75% of the family income. A recent poll taken by
the insurance industry, noted that 81% of men feel that being a father is more difficult today than it was 20 years ago.
The increasing number of divorces is also taking a toll on fathers. Many fathers are unable to
interact with their children because of legal and emotional barriers following divorce. This has led to children being deprived of fathers and also to their psychological devastation of fathers unable to be with their
children. The suicide rate for men after divorce is four times that of women. At the same time, more men are facing the challenge of being the single-parent in the post-divorce household. Fathers now head 21% of
single-parent households, and the trend of fathers gaining custody is growing. Many of these new single-parent fathers need support in order to cope with their financial and personal responsibilities.
children are the ultimate victims of father absence, be it due to work or divorce. A vast array of social services research shows that children and especially boys, do far better with a father than without. Whether the
issue is physical or mental health, suicide, school achievement or teenage pregnancy or drug abuse, a father's presence is an important key to a child's success and well-being.
The MHN father support program will
focus on reducing father absence, whether due to the pressure of work or the traumas of divorce. The MHN, and its coalition, will work with major corporations and other employers to initiate imaginative approaches to
parental leave and flexible work hours which will allow fathers to spend more time with their children. The MHN, and its coalition, will also actively work with government agencies in this area.
The MNH will offer
help and advice to fathers undergoing the difficult process of divorce. MHN will also help men with the psychological counseling they need to cope with divorce, the reality of partial separation from their children or
the new challenges of single parenting.