September 2018, Suicide Prevention Month – Ideas for Action

From the Suicide Prevention Resource Center

1.       Learn About

Effective Suicide Prevention

by watching and sharing a brief video overview of SPRC’s Effective Suicide Prevention Model: http://www.sprc.org/micro-learning/effective-suicide-prevention

2.       Share Stories

of hope, healing, and recovery, such as:

3.       Empower Everyone

to help prevent suicide by promoting:

4.       Join

the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s (Action Alliance) collective #BeThere messaging effort:

5.       Encourage

faith communities to join the Action Alliance’s National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope, & Life [prayfaithhopelife.org]:

6.       Support

the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s (Lifeline) #BeThe1To movement by learning the five steps that can save a life and sharing them with others: (1) ask, (2) keep them safe, (3) be there, (4) help them connect, and (5) follow up http://www.bethe1to.com/join/

7.       Encourage Help-Seeking

by spreading the word about these crisis services:

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help

SANE Australia Helpline  –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10am-10pm AEST) 1800 18 72 63

Helpline chat – Chat online with a mental health professional (weekdays 10am-10pm AEST)

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

8.       Explore Ways

to #BeThere for a veteran or service member—whether you have one minute, one hour, or more—with resources from the Veterans Crisis Line  https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/BeThereSupport.aspx

9.       Take 5 Minutes

to complete five action items developed by the National Council for Suicide Prevention (NCSP) for their Take 5 to Save Lives campaign: (1) learn the signs, (2) do your part, (3) practice self-care, (4) reach out, and (5) spread the word https://www.take5tosavelives.org/take-5-steps

10.     Get Involved

in World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 using information and ideas from the International Association for Suicide Prevention’s (IASP) website https://iasp.info/wspd2018/

11.     Promote

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month using materials from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), such as crisis and information resources and social media content http://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Suicide- Prevention-Awareness-Month

12.     Inform the Media

that they play an important role in suicide prevention by sharing the Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide with print, online, radio, and television media contacts http://reportingonsuicide.org/

13.     Participate

in a National Suicide Prevention Week event hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) https://afsp.org/campaigns/national-suicide-prevention-week-2018/

14.     Create Safe & Effective Messages

for the public that promote hope, recovery, and resilience using the Framework for Successful Messaging http://suicidepreventionmessaging.org

15.     Share Resources

that promote healing:

A Journey Toward Health & Hope Handbook for Recovery after a Suicide Attempt http://www.suicidology.org/Portals/14/docs/Resources/ HandbookForRecoveryAfterAttemptSAMHSA.pdf

Resources related to survivors of suicide loss

http://www.sprc.org/populations/suicide-loss

http://www.suicidology.org/suicide-survivors/suicide-loss-survivors https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/

 

Suicide Prevention Resource Center www.sprc.org |  877-GET-SPRC (877-438-7772)

Education Development Center 43 Foundry Avenue, Waltham, MA 02453

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center at EDC is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), under Grant No. 5U79SM062297. The views, opinions, and content expressed in this product do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of CMHS, SAMHSA, or HHS.

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Important News – PHN tender for National Psychosocial Support Measure

Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN announces an opportunity for mental health service providers to bid for the National Psychosocial Support (NPS) Measure.

The PHN invites all existing mental health service providers within Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast to participate in an open tender process. Eligible providers will have an existing funding arrangement with Department of Health, Department of Social Services, Queensland Health, or PHN-commissioned, mental health service.

What is the National Psychosocial Support Measure?
In the 2017-18 Federal Budget, the Government committed funding for the National Psychosocial Support Measure. The purpose of the NPS is to provide psychosocial support services to assist people with severe mental illness resulting in a reduction in psychosocial functional capacity who are not eligible for assistance through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

As part of the budget announcement, State and Territory Governments were asked to match the funding, for the service to proceed. A bilateral agreement was signed between the Commonwealth and the Queensland Government.

The PHN will be commissioning services to support people in the Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN region.

When are services expected to commence?
PHN expects that services will be available from early January 2019

Indicative Tender Timelines
10 September-12 October 2018

Industry briefing sessions

Central Queensland NPS Industry Briefing
Presented by PHN Senior Manager for Central Queensland, Riaz Ahmed
10am-11am Thursday, 6 September 2018
PHN Rockhampton office, Lvl 1/44a William Street,
Rockhampton
info@ourphn.org.au
(07) 4921 7777
RSVP for the Central Queensland Briefing

Wide Bay NPS Industry Briefing
Presented by PHN Senior Manager for Wide Bay, Kirsten Smith
10am-11am Thursday, 6 September 2018
PHN Bundaberg office, Ground Floor, 205 Bourbong Street
Bundaberg
info@ourphn.org.au
(07) 4131 0800
RSVP for the Wide Bay Briefing

Sunshine Coast NPS Industry Briefing
Presented by PHN Senior Manager for Sunshine Coast, Robb Major
10am-11am Thursday, 6 September 2018
PHN Maroochydore office, Ground Floor, 29 The Esplanade, Maroochydore
info@ourphn.org.au
(07) 5456 8100
RSVP for the Sunshine Coast Briefing

Wide Bay NPS Industry Briefing
Presented by PHN Senior Manager for Wide Bay, Kirsten Smith
10am-11am Thursday, 6 September 2018
PHN Bundaberg office, Ground Floor, 205 Bourbong Street
Bundaberg
info@ourphn.org.au
(07) 4131 0800
RSVP for the Wide Bay Briefing

Register for Tenderlink, the PHN’s electronic tendering portal

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help

SANE Australia Helpline  –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10am-10pm AEST) 1800 18 72 63

Helpline chat – Chat online with a mental health professional (weekdays 10am-10pm AEST)

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

cactus

Do you experience suicidal thoughts?

suicidal

The Sunshine Coast Mind & Neuroscience Thompson Institute are seeking individuals who experience chronic suicidality to participate in a clinical trial investigating the efficacy of a novel drug treatment.

ELIGIBILITY  CRITERIA:

  • Are over 18 years of age
  • Experience ongoing suicidal thoughts
  • Do not require urgent psychiatric intervention for their suicidality
  • Do not have uncontrolled cardiovascular disease

MORE INFORMATION

Sunshine Coast Mind & Neuroscience Thompson Institute Tel: +61 7 5430 1191 | Email: oktos@usc.edu.au

university of the sunshine coast   |   cricos:   01595d

2127-2/0818

 

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help

SANE Australia Helpline  –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10am-10pm AEST) 1800 18 72 63

Helpline chat – Chat online with a mental health professional (weekdays 10am-10pm AEST)

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

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#BeThere Now and join us in September & A National Weekend of Faith, Hope and Life

Action Alliance #BeThere Messaging Effort during National Suicide Prevention Week/Month

In America they have a National Suicide Prevention Month and a National Suicide Prevention Week. We have a Day. They are also better at empowering their membership and the broader community to become active participants in the movement.

Be There

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) and its partners are again uniting for National Suicide Prevention Week during National Suicide Prevention Month. From September 10 to 15, the Action Alliance and its partners will collectively push out #BeThere messaging to highlight the role the public has in being there for others who might be struggling or in crisis. Join the Action Alliance to help educate the public about actions anyone, anywhere can take to make someone feel less alone. Here are some ways to get involved:
  • Support the Action Alliance’s Thunderclap to automatically share a #BeThere message with your social media followers on September 10.
  • Use #BeThere on Twitter to educate the public about the many ways to take action to support a person who is struggling.
  • Sign up to receive #BeThere updates from the Action Alliance.
  • Visit the Action Alliance’s #BeThere website to learn more.
  • Watch a recording of the Action Alliance’s July 25 #BeThere messaging webinar.

Thunderclap

“Let’s unite to educate the public about the ways to take action to support a person who is struggling or in crisis. http://thndr.me/F1nEcw

 

And A National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope, & Life

As part of the Action Alliance’s #BeThere efforts in September, the Faith Communities Task Force is hosting a second annual National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope, & Life from September 7 to 9. During the second weekend of September, faith communities across the nation are invited to pray for those whose lives have been touched by suicide. To learn more and get involved, watch the National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope, & Life video; pledge to show your commitment to participating in this national movement; and help promote the observance widely among your various channels and contacts.

prayfaithhopelife

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help

SANE Australia Helpline  –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10am-10pm AEST) 1800 18 72 63

Helpline chat – Chat online with a mental health professional (weekdays 10am-10pm AEST)

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

 

Ways To Help Someone Who Has Lost A Loved One To Suicide

by youwillbearwitness

Brief Introduction

This is a post from the WordPress blog “Fighting for a Future.” This person is a survivor of horrific sexual abuse and trauma. She is also a mental health expert and well worth tuning into. She blogs 3 times a day and you could not read it all but I save everything she writes.

“There’s a common estimate that every suicide leaves behind six survivors who are the most affected by the death. Not to be confused with suicide attempt survivors, who have taken action toward ending their own lives, suicide survivors or suicide loss survivors are friends or family members of someone who died by suicide writes Guest Bloggers Sarah Klein.

Suicide loss survivors are themselves at an increased risk of mental health conditions and suicide in the future. One study found that people who knew someone who died by suicide in the previous year were 1.6 times more likely to have suicidal thoughts, 2.9 times more likely to make a suicide plan, and 3.7 times more likely to make a suicide attempt than people who did not know someone who died by suicide.

Family members may be genetically predisposed to suicide, while friends and peers may be influenced by the behaviour of a person who died by suicide—or distraught by the “emotional destruction suicide leaves in its wake,” says John R. Jordan, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and the author of several books and articles on bereavement after suicide.

To address this increased risk, experts in the field of suicide practice something called suicide postvention. “[Clinical psychologist] Edwin Shneidman coined the term to mean what we do after a suicide has happened to help people who are loss survivors and help reduce their risk of suicide,” Jordan says.

Postvention tactics can include professional measures, like therapy sessions or meetings with a support group. But help can also come from family and friends. If you know someone who is a recent survivor of suicide loss, here are expert-recommended ways you can help.

Be present

“Even though this is changing, suicide is still a very stigmatized death,” Jordan says. “Losing someone to suicide can be tremendously isolating. Many people either don’t know anybody or don’t know they know somebody” who was close to someone who died by suicide, he says. Help break down those isolating walls by being there for your friend or family member

Kim Ruocco’s husband died by suicide in 2005. A Marine Corps pilot, he came back from what she describes as a “pretty difficult deployment” in Iraq with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Their sons were 8 and 10 at the time.

Ruocco, who has a master’s degree in social work and is now the vice president of suicide postvention and prevention at the Tragedy Assistant Program for Survivors, says she took comfort in people simply being by her side. “The people who were most helpful to me could be in my presence and tolerate my pain and didn’t have to say anything,” she says. “There are no right words really, but it was really comforting to have someone who can be with you with that much pain.”

Deflect feelings of blame

Grief is never easy, but grief in the wake of suicide can be particularly complicated, says Mara Pheister, MD, an associate professor in psychiatry and behavioural medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, who has researched suicide prevention and postvention. “There’s the sense that it is a little different than the grief involved in losing someone in general. There can be a lot of guilt, a lot of what if,” she says.

Because a suicide loss survivor may already be blaming themselves for not doing something differently, comments like, “How could you not have known?” or “Why didn’t you stop him?” are particularly unhelpful, Dr. Pheister says. “That’s not something that needs to be said.”

Other survivors may be working through feelings of blame surrounding what turned out to be their final interaction or conversation with the person who died, Ruocco adds. “Help them understand that suicide is a multi-factor event that comes together on a kind of ‘perfect storm’ day,” she says, and encourage them to try to let go of that kind of guilt.

Let them dictate how much detail to share

Although it can be uncomfortable and scary to talk about suicide, avoiding the topic altogether might make a suicide survivor feel like you’re pretending nothing happened. Don’t shy away from talking about suicide—but don’t pry for details, either. Listen to how the survivor is talking about it and take cues from them. “Be there for them if they want to talk about it,” Dr. Pheister says. “It depends on what the person feels like bringing up themselves, what they’re okay talking about.”

That includes how you talk about the person’s death, Ruocco says. “Everyone is different in what kinds of words they want to use in connection with their loved one’s death,” she says. “Listen carefully to how the survivors are talking about the death and use those words.”

When in doubt, ask for guidance. Say something like: “I can only try to imagine what this is like for you. Would it be helpful for you to talk to me, or would you rather not talk about it?” Jordan says. However they respond, treat the person with compassion, as you would anyone who is grieving the death of a loved one, he says.

Celebrate the life the person lived

Put aside your curiosity about how the person died and instead share stories of how they lived. Funny stories of her husband or memories she may not have heard before were most comforting, Ruocco says.

“Use their loved one’s name, remember who they were before they struggled with whatever their issues were, acknowledge that the death doesn’t define them,” Ruocco says. “Talking about the life they lived is incredibly helpful.”

Reassure the survivor their feelings are normal

Alongside the guilt that a survivor might be feeling, there could also be sadness, self-doubt, anger, helplessness, and a wide range of other totally normal reactions, Dr. Pheister says. “Depending on how much the person [who died by suicide] was struggling, the survivor might [also] feel relief, which then induces more guilt,” she says. You can help by reinforcing that these and many other emotions are all well within the range of normal reactions to suicide loss. For example, help them “recognize that relief is the natural response to the removal of stress,” Dr. Pheister says.

Help them embrace their grief

Survivors often expect to grieve for a set period of time and then get over it, Ruocco says, which isn’t always the case. “Grief and loss become a part of who you are; people grieve their entire lives,” she says.

With time, grief can certainly become less painful—but it may still linger, she says. She counsels survivors to think of it in a somewhat more positive light. “Grief is love. You grieve because you loved someone. See it as a connection with a loved one.”

youwillbearwitness | 6 Aug 2018 at 9:55 am | Tags: Dealing with Grief, death, Grief | Categories: Anxiety, Grief, suicide, Uncategorized | URL: https://wp.me/p8wSIt-1Vn

f54b16fa89873a9a6d5850be1bdcf3a6

For help in Australia

CAPS – Talk Suicide Support Service – Free telephone and face to face support      1800 008 255

Salvation Army Care Line     1300 36 36 22

Reach Out     http://au.reachout.com/tough-times

Headspace     Register and chat now at eheadspace, or call 1800 650 890  Headspace

Lifeline    13 11 14

Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78 (24 hour phone counselling and referral)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111

QLife        1800 184 527    Phone & Chat  3.00 – 12.00 pm everyday

SANE Australia help

SANE Australia Helpline  –  Talk to a mental health professional (weekdays, 10am-10pm AEST) 1800 18 72 63

Helpline chat – Chat online with a mental health professional (weekdays 10am-10pm AEST)

Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hour phone counselling)

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 (Professional call back service referral line operates seven days a week)

Veterans Line 1800 011 046 (after hours professional telephone crisis counselling for veterans and their families

*How to ask someone you’re worried about if they’re thinking of suicide

July 25, 2018 6.08am AEST Updated July 25, 2018 10.53am AEST

The Conversation

Australia’s leading mental health organisations have launched a new campaign – #YouCanTalk – to encourage Australians to ask people they’re concerned about if they’re thinking about taking their own life or have made a plan to do so.

This recommendation runs counter to commonly-held fears that talking about suicide might make matters worse by further upsetting the person or even putting the idea in their head.

So what does the research show, and what should you say and avoid?


Read more: People experiencing suicidal thoughts need the compassionate ear of a caring listener


Research shows it’s better to talk

There are two types of evidence on this issue. The first comes from studies that ask people about suicidal thoughts and then assess whether this causes them further distress or increases their suicidal thoughts.

In one US study, a large group of high school students was randomly assigned to either fill out a questionnaire about suicidal thoughts or not.

The researchers found no increase in suicidal thoughts or depressive feelings in the days following answering these questions. In fact, the students who were most at risk of suicide (because they were depressed or had previously attempted suicide) experienced a small decrease in suicidal thoughts and depression.


Read more: Losing wealth, health and life: how financial loss can have catastrophic effects


There were similar findings from a study of Singaporean adults. The researchers randomly assigned participants to answer questions about suicidal feelings and reasons for living or dying, or to a control group that answered questions on quality of life.

No ill effects were found of asking about suicide, and a few of the participants commented that participation in the study gave them the chance to share suicidal feelings for the first time.

The second type of evidence is based on the advice of suicide experts who are either mental health professionals who work with suicidal people, or those who have been suicidal in the past and taken on an advocacy role.

Both types of experts agree that talking about suicidal thoughts can be a relief to a suicidal person. It allows them the chance to talk about their problems and feel that somebody cares.

The same has been found when asking suicide experts from a wide range of countries and cultures, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health experts. There is overwhelming agreement from all these experts that we should talk about these issues openly.

Everyone has a role to play

Suicidal thoughts are quite common. A national survey of Australian adults found that 13% had considered suicide at some time in their life, while 3% had made an attempt.

In adolescents, the rates are higher. A national survey found that 7.5% had considered attempting suicide over the past year and 2.4% had made an attempt.

While health services play an important role in helping people who are at risk of suicide, many people who die by suicide are not in contact with health services in the month before their death.

Every one of us is likely to have close contact with a person who is suicidal. This means family and friends need to play a role in detecting suicide risk and supporting the person.

13% of Australians have considered suicide at some point in their life. Joel Yu/Unsplash

How to help a suicidal person

There are three important things to know about helping a person who may be suicidal.

First, ask the person directly about suicidal thoughts and intentions, such as, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” or “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” Asking the person about suicidal thoughts will allow them the chance to talk about their problems and show them that somebody cares.

But avoid asking in leading or judgemental ways, such as, “You’re not thinking of doing anything stupid, are you?”

Second, listen to the person’s responses without judgement. Let them talk about why they want to die. This can be a relief to the person.

Don’t try to convince the person that suicide is wrong, or tell them how much they would hurt their family if they died. Such judgemental approaches will shut down communication and the opportunity for the person to get support.

Third, tell the person at risk that you care and want to help. Ask them how they would like to be supported and if there is anything you can do to help.

What do you do then?

If someone has told you they are thinking of ending their life, discuss the options for getting help. They may want help to make an appointment with a health professional such as a GP or counsellor, or to call a crisis line. You can provide the following helplines to the person, or call them yourself to ask how to best help in a specific situation:

Detailed guidelines for helping people who are thinking about suicide also cover signs a person may be suicidal, how to approach the person, how to talk with them, how to assess the urgency of the situation, how to keep them safe, what to do if a person has acted on suicidal thoughts, and how to deal with confidentiality issues.

There are also guidelines available on how to help an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person or a person from an immigrant or refugee background who is suicidal.

Short training courses are also available for the public and have been found to improve the quality of support to a suicidal person. These courses can give information and skills specifically about how to recognise and assist a person who is suicidal and how to keep the person safe until professional help is found.


Read more: Too many Australians living in nursing homes take their own lives


Around 3,000 Australians die by suicide every year, and more than 60,000 attempt to end their lives. Health services can only provide part of the solution. If we are to reduce this alarming toll, we need every Australian to play a part.

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ACOSS/UNSW Report: Wealth Inequality Increasing in Australia

I mentioned the growing inequality of wealth in my recent article, “Suicide, Attempted Suicide and Depression in Australia” but here are the sorry statistics to back it up.

Australian Council of Social Service and UNSW Sydney’s inequality report released on Tuesday 31st July 2018, found the average disposable income of the highest 1 per cent in Australia ($11,682 per week) was more than 26 times that of the bottom 5 per cent ($436).

This meant the highest 1 per cent received as much income after tax in a fortnight as the lowest 5 per cent received in a year.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said the report’s findings showed Australia was among the most unequal wealthy nations in the world, along with the US and the UK.                                            

“Our finding that those in the highest 1 per cent earn as much in a fortnight as a those in the lowest 5 per cent in a year deeply challenges our sense of Australia as an egalitarian country”, Goldie said.

“The Australian experience in recent decades shows that inequality has increased strongly in economic boom times and flattened with a slower economy and slow wage growth across the board.

“We should not accept increased inequality as an inevitable by-product of growth.”

The report found wealth inequality in Australia increased from 2003 to 2015, with the average wealth of the highest 20 per cent rising by 53 per cent after inflation, compared to a 32 per cent rise for the middle 20 per cent.

Those in the lowest 20 per cent meanwhile saw their wealth decline by 9 per cent, in stark contrast to the highest 5 per cent, whose wealth grew 60 per cent over this 12-year period.

Goldie said the heavy concentration of investment income in high income households and long-term growth in inequality of hourly wage rates, meant inequality could rise even further.

She urged governments, businesses, unions and communities to “actively work together to prevent this”.

“We can work together to bridge the divide by lifting the lowest social security payments, removing tax loopholes that enable people with the highest incomes to avoid paying their fair share… and implementing effective strategies to improve housing affordability,” Goldie said.

The report also found wealth had shifted to older age groups.

Between 2003 and 2015, the wealth of households over 64 years increased by 57 per cent, compared to just 22 per cent for households under 35.

UNSW research professor in social policy Peter Saunders said this excessive inequality was “unacceptable and harmful to society and to the economy”.

“When people with low incomes and wealth are left behind, they struggle to reach a socially acceptable standard and to participate in society,” Saunders said.

“When resources and power are concentrated in too few hands, or people are too impoverished to participate effectively in the paid workforce, or acquire the skills to do so, economic growth is diminished.”


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.