Grim stat reveals toll of cost-of-living crisis

Suicide rate climbs as cost of living squeezes Aussie households.

Depressed man sitting in the dark with his smartphone to represent the cost of living putting increased pressure on him.
The cost-of-living crisis is having a negative impact of Aussies mental health. (Source: Getty)

More than half of Australian families are distressed over the rising cost of living and fear government relief measures won’t help them.

While some may have celebrated interest rates remaining on hold earlier this week, many Aussies are struggling to keep their heads above water as day-to-day costs like groceries, bills and fuel continue to grow.

Financial pressure was the highest cause of distress for the fifth quarter in a row, according to sobering new data released from the Suicide Prevention Australian Community Tracker.

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Parents were found to be twice as likely to feel such distress they reached out to suicide prevention services than the national average, speaking to the pressure on keeping a household running.

The figures show suicide deaths rose by 7 per cent in New South Wales and Victoria, with the two states representing more than half the national suicide toll between them.

Nationally, 46 per cent of those surveyed blamed the cost of living and personal debt for a decline in their mental health, while 54 per cent said relief measures announced in May’s federal budget would not improve their situation.

The concerning statistics served as a “warning sign” that pressure on personal budgets could lead to more suicides, Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray said.

“Feeding the family and keeping a roof over our heads are two of the most basic human needs,” Murray said.

“While interest rates are a matter for the [Reserve Bank] board, we must be prepared and proactive to prevent distress and suicide rates from continuing to rise.”

She called for a national suicide-prevention act and for better real-time reporting on attempts to “better understand and respond to distress” in the community.

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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