Intense cost of living pressures cause rising distress among Aussies ahead of RBA decision

Collage of a two-faced woman.

New data reveals that nearly half (46%) of Australians are experiencing ‘elevated distress’ due to cost of living pressure, particularly those who are “middle-age, middle-wage”. A further 23% report growing distress over housing affordability, up 2% from the December quarter. 

As the Reserve Bank deliberates its next cash rate decision today, calls for the central bank to consider “human, not just economic, wellbeing” have renewed.

Despite determination to save money, rate hikes leave many Aussies behind

Collage of a distressed woman.

RBA governor Philip Lowe has maintained that unchecked inflation’s ‘corrosive’ effect hurts vulnerable Australians more than rate hikes. 

In this, he argues, the central bank’s aggressive monetary policy may hurt but will ultimately safeguard the long-term welfare of Australians, since it theoretically ensures the smoothest dip in the business cycle while avoiding a recession

However, Suicide Prevention Australia – who supplied the data in its latest quarterly Community Tracker report – urged the RBA to consider the “human face” behind today’s interest rate decision. 

“We’re deeply concerned about the impact that [the] cost of living is having on Australians,” states CEO Nieves Murray.

“When we are talking about suicide, it’s important to remember that every number represents a human life and a cascade of grief and healing across the impacted communities.”

Suicide Prevention Australia’s data matches similar findings from the new NAB Australian Wellbeing Survey, which found that half of Aussies (51%) are concerned by the cost of living. 

“Australians are more engaged with their finances than they have been for a long time, in part due to their concerns around increased living costs,” says NAB personal banking executive Mark Baylis.

But despite the increased attention and effort to build up their savings, 20% of Aussies told NAB they have fewer savings now than they did in December. 

Both data sets serve as a timely reminder that mental health and money can be closely correlated. 

Lifeline 13 11 14. Mental health resources.

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