By Briar Sinclair
JIM Mangioros and Harry Malos are living proof there is hope after separation.
The two northern suburbs men experienced the darkest times of their lives when their respective marriages broke down.
They formed the Men’s Christian Support Group (MCSG) in Brunswick almost three years ago to support each other.
And with the help of Williamstown Gospel Mission secretary Nick Holod, the duo has now formed a new arm of the group in Williamstown, which meets at the mission in Electra St once a month.
Mr Mangioros said the group was about supporting each other.
“I needed restoration in my life,” he said.
“I could have ended up like so many men falling into depression with suicidal thoughts.”
Mr Mangioros said he and Mr Malos searched for a support group but could not find one anywhere.
“So we started meeting together,” he said.
“Bit by bit, others who heard about the group via word of mouth started coming along.
“This may even be the first group of its kind in Australia.”
Mr Holod said the group had grown in numbers steadily.
“It’s a group you don’t really want to be growing because it means there is a problem in the community,” he said.
“But at least these people have someone who will listen and give some support.
“Many have often thought of suicide and since joining the group they no longer think of suicide.
“It’s not a meeting where we get together and bash the wives or partners, we accept that both parties were wrong and we look at what we are going to do today and into the future.”
Mr Malos recognised the support men needed for their feelings during a break up.
“You’re not ready (for separation) because you’re ignorance did not let you see the signs and it is very hard to absorb it all,” he said.
“All you hear is ‘the kids are leaving with me, go and see a lawyer’.”
Mr Holod agreed. “Females handle it far better, even though they suffer a lot too,” he said.
“We are afraid to cry, we are too macho to show that in Australia.”
The MCSG western group’s next meeting will take place on Tuesday 6 September from 8pm in the rear hall of Williamstown Gospel Mission Church located at 810 Electra St, Williamstown.
The meetings have a Christian focus but people from all faiths are welcome.
For more information, phone Mr Malos on 0409 563 943, Mr Mangioros on 0433 302 790 or Mr Holod on 0417 541 518.