A grieving Flaxmere couple have started a support group to help men express their emotions.

The One Voice Support Group for men who have lost loved ones was held for the first time last night.

Haira and Lynsey Abbott, who run advocacy services trust One Voice, started the group after Mr Abbott lost his son to suicide in 2013 and felt there was not enough support to help men grieve.

Mr Abbott said he wanted to provide a support group for men because of the stigma that men had to hide their feelings.


"Men should never be ashamed to cry," he said.

"Since losing my son life hasn't and will never be the same . . . I will never hug my son again.

"I, like many families who have lost a loved one . . . have had lots of dark days but in time the healing has slowly happened."

Mrs Abbott said her husband, with the support of family, was able to show his emotions after his son died and found the grieving process slightly easier.

"He was able to cry, able to have those bad moments. Now he wants to be able to pass that [ability] on to somebody."

Many men found it hard to grieve and they held their feelings in, which often ended up with them hurting themselves or going down a negative pathway, Mrs Abbott said.

"We want to get the message out there that they are not alone.

"They need to know that it's okay to grieve, they don't need to act tough and hide their hurt."

Another aim of the group was prevention, because if men could learn how to grieve in a supportive environment they would be less likely to end up hurting themselves, she said.

"We are passionate about helping our people."

The weekly group started with a meet and greet last night and will evolve depending on the wishes of those involved.

"We want to make it as relaxed as possible," Mrs Abbott said.

Those attending would be able to share their stories, build up relationships and eventually go on outings together or have events.

Last night Mr Abbott shared his story and everyone introduced themselves before having a cup of tea and supper.

Members were also given a support booklet made by the Abbotts to take away with them.

The group will be held every Wednesday from 7pm at 37 Livingstone Rd, Flaxmere.

Where to get help:

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youth services: (06) 3555 906 (Palmerston North and Levin)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (available 24/7)

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.