Albanese Labor Government fails to provide mental health relief as suicide rates rise in the cost of living crisis

Melissa McIntosh MP, Federal Member for Lindsay, is concerned the Albanese Labor Government has failed to take serious action on tackling Australia’s mental health crisis, as suicide rates rose by an alarming 7% in 2022 in the nation’s most populous states of New South Wales and Victoria.

Ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, peak body Suicide Prevention Australia published its annual State of the Nation report and quarterly Community Tracker.

According to the organisation, the relief measures provided by the Albanese Labor Government in the last Federal Budget have done little for Australian families struggling with the rise in cost of living.

The data from Suicide Prevention Australia paints a concerning picture of the risks of increasing suicide rates, due to distress caused by cost of living and personal debt, housing access and affordability, and social isolation.

The report raises the alarm that for the first time more than half of Australian families (56%) are reporting unprecedented levels of cost of living distress, with nearly half of those surveyed (46%) stating that ‘cost of living and personal debt’ was their highest causes of distress, for the fifth quarter in a row.

Further, the report which surveys organisations working towards suicide prevention notes they are experiencing a 77% increase in demand for services over the last 12 months and 81% require more funding to meet this need. Alarmingly, more than 8 in 10 respondents anticipate a rise in suicide rates over the next year.

Mrs McIntosh said, “In a cost of living crisis, we need more affordable mental health support to assist Australians in need. This is why a Coalition government will restore the full 20 Medicare-subsidised psychology sessions which were slashed to 10 under the Albanese Labor Government.”

“The Albanese Labor Government has been ineffectual in addressing the economic challenges impacting families’ hip-pockets and their mental health.

“Today's report has called for an urgent whole-of-government response and accelerated implementation of targeted economic policy to give Australians the relief they urgently need.

“We are seeing Australians increasingly becoming at risk of suicide as the bills mount up, with mortgage and rents rising exponentially and daily grocery essentials priced out of people’s budgets.

“I have heard some shocking stories from people across Australia, and they are telling me they do not believe the Government is doing enough to help them or see relief on the horizon.

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