JobSeeker will push people below the poverty line causing concerns for mental health and wellbeing

The Mental Health Community Coalition of the ACT (MHCC ACT) raises concerns for people's mental health and wellbeing in light of yesterday’s announcement regarding JobSeeker changes.

The announcement yesterday by the Australian Government to change the JobSeeker payment will see the removal of the Coronavirus supplement, leaving households who depend on it trying to make ends meet, $145 under the poverty line each week.

“This sort of financial stress is what can begin the slippery slide into homelessness, trapping people in poverty and damaging their mental health and wellbeing”, says Leith Felton-Taylor, CEO (A/g) of MHCC ACT.

“It is bizarre that the Federal Government pushes people further into poverty while at the same time prioritising investment in improving the mental health and wellbeing of Australians.

Mental health and wellbeing should be more highly considered in in the development and implementation of all policies.”

The impact of the stress and anxiety as a result of not making ends meet accompanied by the unnecessarily harsh new mutual obligations for people out of work will be detrimental for an already vulnerable group of people. Studies1 show that financial hardship is often associated with depression, suicide, and an increased likelihood of developing a mental disorder.

“Since first the bushfires and then COVID, demand for mental health services has grown strongly. This new development will only increase demand.”

“We are very concerned about the potential of this decision to further erode people’s mental health and wellbeing and exacerbate pressure on already stretched supports and services.”

“We are joining the call by ACTCOSS and many others for an increase of at least $25 a day on top of the old Newstart rate of just $40 a day, bringing the JobSeeker rate to $65 a day” says Leith Felton-Taylor.

Media Contact: Leith Felton-Taylor, Acting Chief Executive Officer 

(02) 5104 7715, Leith.Felton-Taylor@mhccact.org.au

Communications Officer: Alison Hall, (02) 5104 7711, Alison.Hall@mhccact.org.au

MHCC ACT is the peak body for community mental health services in the ACT. 

Find out more about MHCC ACT at www.mhccact.org.au