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New Research Finds Unemployment Has Caused Suicide In Australia

A recent study reveals a direct causal relationship between unemployment and suicide rates in Australia. 

Over a 13-year period from 2004 to 2016, researchers estimate that more than 3,000 Australians lost their lives to suicide directly attributable to unemployment and underemployment, averaging 230 deaths per year. 

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The study was conducted in Science Advances and published in a multidisciplinary journal by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Researchers applied a technique called convergent cross mapping (CCM) to test for causal effects of unemployment and underemployment on suicidal behaviour.

“This method has been developed over the past decade to detect causality in complex ecosystems,” they said.

They said the method had been used to study and show causal relationships between cosmic rays, global temperature, humidity, and influenza outbreaks. 

According to predictive modelling, approximately 9.5 per cent of the 32,000 suicides recorded in Australia from 2004 to 2016 were directly linked to labour under-utilisation. 

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This includes both unemployment and underemployment, with each contributing to half of the cases. 

These findings also find significant political, economic, social, and legal implications, especially considering government and central bank policies that often result in intentional unemployment.

“We hope our findings will spur discussions about expanding unemployment benefits and labour market reforms to achieve greater job security,” the researchers wrote in The Conversation.

“We also hope to provoke a deeper conversation about the design of the economy and how it values people beyond simply making money.”

If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, you can call these support services, 24 hours, 7 days:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800 (for people aged 5 to 25)
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
  • StandBy – Support After Suicide: 1300 727 24

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