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Devastating impact of cost of living crisis revealed: ‘Deeply concerning’

Suicide Prevention Australia has seen an increase in the number of Aussies experiencing elevated distress.

Cost of living: A mother and child look out a window.
The cost of living crisis is not just having a financial impact. (Source: Getty)

Aussies are feeling the pressure from the worsening cost-of-living crisis but it’s not just weighing on bank accounts.

Almost half of all Australians (46 per cent) have reported elevated distress from cost-of-living pressures. There are calls for today’s Reserve Bank Australia (RBA) board meeting to factor in the impact of rate rises on the nation’s “human, not just economic, wellbeing”.

Suicide Prevention Australia’s latest quarterly Community Tracker, found further increases in distress in housing affordability (23 per cent) – and now unemployment (21 per cent), particularly amongst “middle-age, middle-wage” Australians.

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Aussies also said personal debt (68 per cent), housing access and affordability (53 per cent), unemployment and job security (51 per cent), social isolation (51 per cent), and relationship breakdowns (51 per cent) were the top risks for increased suicide risks.

Alarmingly, one-in-six (16 per cent) Australians reported serious thoughts of suicide in the past 12 months.

Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray shared the finding with the RBA and Federal Treasurer last week to add a “human face” to today’s rates decision and preparations for the upcoming Budget.

“Our findings once again prove the clear link between the impact of rising economic and social pressures and distress levels in the community,” Murray said.

“We’re deeply concerned about the impact that cost-of-living is having on Australians.

“Therefore, the upcoming Federal Budget in May falls at an incredibly important time for the wellbeing of Australians.

“We need urgent action from the Albanese Government to address rising rates of distress and suicide. It’s critical this budget deliver on commitments to mental health and suicide prevention.”

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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