The number of Australians seeking mental health help has soared due to an increase in costs of living pressures, according to Lifeline Australia.
Data gathered from Australia’s largest suicide prevention organisation showed that in January 2023 alone, there were 26,000 searches for assistance and support, particularly financial issues and homelessness.
Lifeline Australia CEO, Colin Seery said that the organisation is offering help to many who are facing financial difficulties for the first time.
“Our centres are reporting an increase in help seekers who have never experienced financial stress before. And we know cost of living pressures also disproportionately impact the most vulnerable, including people who are unemployed,” he said.
Lifeline Australia’s Chief Research Officer, Dr Anna Brooks said that rising mortgages, rental costs and other economic pressures are impacting financial stress.
“Financial stress and uncertainty can contribute to mental ill health,” she said. “There is also evidence to suggest that people can experience distress and suicidal thoughts when facing financial stress and uncertainty.”
Australia is currently listed as having the sixteenth highest cost of living as well as being fourteenth most expensive country to live in.
There has been growing concerns about the link between rising costs of living and the mental health of Australians. A 2022 Suicide Prevention Australia survey found that 40 percent of Australians reported elevated distress due to financial circumstances compared to 2021.
Mr Seery said that the organisation is available 24/7 for anyone who is struggling.
“As well as telephone and digital support, Lifeline has 41 centres across Australia. Some of these centres offer face-to-face crisis support and counselling, including financial counselling,”
You can phone Lifeline to speak to a Crisis Supporter on 13 11 14 (24 hours/7days), text 0477 131 114 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or chat to Lifeline online at www.lifeline.org.au (24/7)
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