Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Does poverty cause suicide?

That it does is the implicit message below.  And it is true that the poor suicide more.  But is the poverty the cause of the suicide?  In the case of the person highlighted below it would seem to be an hereditary depressive illness.  Many close relatives to him had suicided too.

From my reading of the literature, social isolation and loss of important relationships are the main cause of suicide. We need connectedness with others. So how do we explain the correlation with poverty?

I think we need to see poverty not as a cause but as an effect.  many things can lay you low financially, including mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.  And there is also extravagance, monetary incontinence. If you repeatedly blow all your money soon after you get it, you are going to be long-term poor. And extravagance in turn can reflect deficient impulse control, which is again a mental weakness. 

And a major correlate of poverty is IQ.  Some people just cannot cope with modern work requirements.  Jobs have become more complex as time has gone by.  Digging ditches manually was so simple anyone could do it but few jobs are that simple anymore. So the low IQ person is more likely to be unemployed, often for long periods.  And unemployment is depressing in a host of ways.  And it is ultimately a depressive state of mind that leads on to suicide.

So a more measured and detailed look at people at risk of suicide is what is needed for prevention purposes. Just blaming poverty is irresponsibly simplistic and unlikely to help.  The most officialdom is ever likely to provide is anti-psychotic and anxiolytic medication.  The churches will be the major source of social and emotional support. Neither governments nor Leftist organizations have any track-record in that function.

I was standing inside a tacky “instant cash loan” place in main street, Dandenong, I had just applied for a $200 loan.

“Sorry love we can’t help you today,” the Eastern European lady at the loan shop I’ll call CASH NOW EXCITING WOW said.

I was broke and living on a friend’s couch. I went to three other “instant cash loan” places who said no to giving me a loan that day. Plus I’d been into Centrelink and asked for a cash advance — I got rejected for that too.

I also had a bad back and was losing my battle with the insurance company. I’d just borrowed money from a friend earlier that day — she needed it by the next morning for her daughter’s school excursion. CASH NOW EXCITING WOW’s final rejection meant I realised I couldn’t repay her by that night like I promised.

Twelve months earlier I had a well-paying, high-status job; I’d been on TV, the radio, I wrote for magazines — everyone took my call when I was a journalist — most people wanted to be my friend.

After CASH NOW’s rejection I felt disconnected, life seemed pointless; broken beyond repair. I walked for hours plotting ways to die. I eventually followed one street all the way to Dandenong Hospital’s emergency room and told them I wanted to kill myself.

It wasn’t the first time I’d been suicidal. But it was the first time that financial despair had driven me to it.

And the experience turned out to be illuminating in more ways than one — years later, I would start reading and find what is rarely talked about: The link between being on a lower-income and suicide.

Not that long ago terms like “affluenza” and “cashed-up bogans” were freely thrown around. Yes we know that “money doesn’t make you happy”, but being dirt poor can drive you to despair — male suicide in Australia was at the highest in the 1930s Great Depression.

Many studies show the link between unemployment and suicide: unemployed men suicide about 4.62 times the rate of employed men in Australia according the latest research by the University of Melbourne.

The latest available ABS figures show Australia’s annual suicide rate is 12 per 100,000 — the highest in 10 years. We know men are more at risk, so too LGBTI people and the indigenous. But since 2002, ABS data hasn’t recorded occupation or income (currently it looks only at age, race, gender) of those who have taken their own life — when it did it showed the unemployed, tradies and labourers were the ones most likely to suicide.

Contemporary figures showing the link between income, class and suicide proved hard to find. But the suicide rate for trades people is 21 per 100,000 and for labourers it’s an astonishing 34 per 100,000 (nearly triple the national average).

Compare that to the suicide rates of male managers of 7 suicides per 100,000, and middle-class professionals of 13 per 100,000.

There are a few aberrations including veterinarians and those working in the medical profession, who have high suicide rates, but otherwise the trend appears relatively clear.

“The main drivers of suicide are disconnection, and a loss of hope and purpose,” Alan Woodward Director of Lifeline Australia told

“We know financial struggles and personal indebtedness is a factor that can lead people to feel suicidal ... if you are unemployed there is a strong chance your social network will reduce and you may experience some loss of a sense of contributing to the community.”

“Some occupations have some features, less control of the nature of their work, less fulfilment, job satisfaction, possibility to exposure to unsafe areas.

And of course — most of those jobs are male-dominated. “Traditional masculine behaviour and attitudes have been found to relate to reduced and delayed help-seeking for mental health problems,” he said.

When I reflect back on the day my financial crisis led to suicidal ideation, I do think about the lack of meaning in my life right then. I had tried to do everything right: I had been studying law, I’d spent most of my life climbing the socio-economic ladder just as my parents had lifted themselves out of their parents’ poverty. There I was — begging for money.

My Dad is on a disability support pension after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago. He has attempted suicide a few times. His Dad had schizophrenia and suicided. My Dad’s brother also took his own life, so did my cousin.

Back at Dandenong hospital the day I was completely broke and suicidal, I ended up speaking with a great psychiatric nurse, who gave me a very good counselling session, an antipsychotic and a bed for the night.

While it didn’t solve my problem, it did help me deal with these issues with a clearer head the next day.

And while mental health is clearly not just all about the individual, I did need to get my head together initially to work out how to solve my problem.

I’m extremely grateful for the help and cherish the fact I have gone to live another seven fulfilling years.


Racist homosexual supporters

The fight for marriage equality is important. But there’s no room in it for racism, writes Anisha Gautam

Growing up in Australia with a hyphenated migrant identity is a unique experience, and yet it would be fair to say that most migrant Australians, particular those with visible differences, will at some point in their lives face at least two, very common racist sentiments. The first one is the ubiquitous question “Where do you come from?” as though, despite our multicultural make up, it is impossible to believe that a person with brown skin, say, might just “be” from Australia.

The second is a statement, that old chestnut: “Go back to where you come from.”

As a somewhat outspoken advocate for minority rights, I cannot count the number of times I have had that sentiment hurled at me with the utmost contempt and hatred. It is a sentiment that is most often expressed when a migrant Australian is deemed to be insufficiently ‘grateful’ to the nation as, for example, when a migrant Australian dares to criticise an unjust government policy.

It is also expressed when a migrant Australian simply dares to express an opinion that the xenophobic right simply doesn’t agree with.

I was very disappointed, however, when I recently found the same sentiment being expressed by advocates of same-sex marriage under an article about the ‘No’ campaigner Dr Pansy Lai. “If she doesn’t like our modern secular society with western values of equality,” one commentator write, “maybe she should leave.” Another commentator suggested that perhaps Dr Lai “would be more comfortable practicing back in China where SSM is illegal”.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely do not agree with Dr Lai. Her opinions on same-sex marriage are, as far as I’m concerned, wrong, and her contribution to the ‘No’ campaign ad was both absurd and harmful. Dr Lai’s organization – the Australian Chinese for Families Association – is also doing the nation a great disservice in advocating against the Safe Schools Program, which aims to protect the most vulnerable of the nation’s children. Moreover, if true, it is abhorrent that the organisation advocates the dangerous and discredited conversation therapy as a “cure” for same-sex attraction.

As far as I am concerned, Dr Lai, in coming forward as a public advocate against same-sex marriage has left herself open to many things. She is currently facing, I would argue rightly, the contempt and scorn of those of us fighting to legalize same-sex marriage as a matter of human rights and human dignity.

What she should not face, however, no matter how abhorrent her opinions, are calls to “go back to where you come from.” Because when you say it to her, you say it to me, and to every other migrant who considers himself or herself Australian. Because when you tell one migrant Australian that they are not welcome in the country because their opinion is unacceptable, you tell every one of us that our welcome, too, is contingent in saying and doing the ‘right’ thing, whatever the issue may be. Because it is racist.

If you think my argument is unfair, take a moment to read the comments under articles on Cella White, the white woman in the same video for the No campaign who claimed that her son’s school encouraged him to wear a dress. Not once will you see any calls for her to leave the country because while her argument is called out as absurd and her stance bigoted, being white, her “Australianness,” her right to continue to live in Australia, is never called into question.

The fact is, migrant Australians are not all the same. We do not think in the same way, we do not vote for the same parties. Some of us are progressives and willing to fight for a more just world, and others are willing to fight to keep the status quo. As sad as it makes me to say it, just as I have the right to be progressive, so Dr Lai has the right to be bigoted. When we accept others into our national fabric, we need to do so wholeheartedly, accepting that they are Australian unconditionally, for good or for bad.

Most of us have been put in a situation we did not want, having to participate in what is essentially a national survey on whether or not our LGBTIQ allies should have the same rights that the rest of us have had for centuries.

This campaign has been exactly what the government promised it would not be: hateful, cruel and divisive. It is important that we continue to fight the misinformation published by the ‘No’ campaign but we must do without compromising our ideals as agents of social progress.

Resorting to racism is not a strategy we should engage, if we want to win the bigger war against all injustice.


‘No’ mums hit back against bullying after ad against same-sex marriage airs and say they have been demonised for their views

I doubt there is any opposing opinion to same sex marriage that the Left will not say is hateful.

THE mothers featured in the “No” campaign ad against same-sex marriage say they have been “demonised” for defending their rights.

Heidi McIvor, who is a pastor at City Builders Church in Sale, Victoria appeared in the TV ad for Coalition for Marriage, which aired on Tuesday. “Kids in year seven are being asked to role play being in a same-sex relationship,” Ms McIvor says in the ad.

Ms McIvor’s comment has sparked a backlash, with Ms McIvor and her husband Julian McIvor also falsely accused of being behind a newspaper ad that appeared in The Gippsland Times and entitled “What is Marriage?”

The ad includes the line that: “When the wife’s egg is fertilised by the husband’s sperm in the marital act of love, a flash of light occurs and a baby is conceived. Nine months later, ‘their’ baby is born. It is not ‘hers’ and it is not ‘his’. They have created new life together.”

One Facebook user of the couple said: “Let’s burn there (sic) church”.

It later emerged the couple did not place the ad and Ms McIvor has condemned the reaction to her television appearance.

“I am perplexed that the response to this ad hasn’t been to verify our claims or research what is happening to education and parents’ rights overseas,” she said in a statement to

“Instead it has been to delve into the personal and work lives of the women on this ad and use it to discredit us, demonising mothers for defending their rights.”

Another mother that appears in the ad, Dr Pansy Lai, has been identified as a paediatrician based in Sydney’s North Shore.

She’s emerged as the founder of the group Australian Chinese for Families Association that was originally created to oppose the Safe Schools initiative, but has evolved to campaign against same-sex marriage as well.

In the TV ad Dr Lai says: “when same-sex marriage passes as law overseas, this type of program become (sic) widespread and compulsory”.

After her appearance it emerged she has promoted conversion therapy and there have been calls for her to be investigated by the Australian Medical Association and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

But Dr Lai hit back at the claims, telling “I don’t “promote” gender conversion therapy. If people wish to do it they can, but I do not promote it to anyone”.

Details of Dr Lai’s workplace address have been published and she was sent a message that she should bring extra security to work.

In relation to the backlash, Dr Lai said: “I find it sad that everyday mums are being attacked for raising genuine concerns about the implications of redefining marriage”.

A Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman said the treatment the mums had received had become characteristic of the response of same-sex marriage advocates, “which is to bully, intimidate and even threaten anyone who disagrees into silence”.

“The only way to protect freedom of speech for everyone is to vote ‘no.’”

Another Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman Sophie York also released a message to ‘No’ supporters that said the Yes campaign had been “aggressively vilifying us” and trying to make them out as “bullies” and “bad guys” for opposing same-sex marriage.

“They sure screamed when our ad hit the air, and are still trying to knock our campaign as ‘rubbish’,” she said of the ad that aired on Tuesday.

“Yet it is THEIR campaign that was caught creating fake news. It is THEIR campaign that has been exposed for falsifying facts. And it is THEIR campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote that threatens to destroy our entire Aussie way of life.”

But it’s not just the ‘No’ campaign copping criticism. A parody ad that aired on The Project and which skewers the ‘No’ ad, has also faced a backlash.

The video, which has been viewed more than 400,000 times drew a mixed reaction, with some applauding its humour and others calling it biased.

There have also been offensive flyers sent to homes in the Sydney suburb of Hurstville that said legalising gay marriage would allow rapists to pose as “transsexual women” in order to enter female toilets.


Lucky Melbourne again

A gang of 'African' youths have stormed a Melbourne Coles, leaving shoppers terrified.

Mother-of-three was Alicia Fulcher was shopping with her young children at the Spring Hill shopping centre Coles on Saturday afternoon when the gang crashed through.

'All of a sudden this large crowd of basically teenagers just started crashing their way through the registers with arms full of stock,' Ms Fulcher told 3AW Radio. 'I was terrified.'

Ms Fulcher told the program there were about 20-25 young people involved in the looting. 'Some of them looked as young as 11-12 years old,' she said.

'They were all African… They are obviously here from Africa and everybody is getting angry about it. 'They seem to be sticking together… and taking over I think.'

Ms Fulcher said the young people had no fear of being caught and even stopped to compare what they had stolen only metres from the store.

Victoria Police are investigating the incident. In a statement police said: 'They went through and grabbed a range of items, leaving the store soon after without making any attempts to pay.  'It is believed confectionary, chips and soft drinks were stolen.

'The teenagers are perceived to be of African appearance and a number of them were wearing hooded jumpers and backpacks.'


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

1 comment:

Paul said...

"There have also been offensive flyers sent to homes in the Sydney suburb of Hurstville that said legalising gay marriage would allow rapists to pose as “transsexual women” in order to enter female toilets."

I don't know exactly how marriage can directly cause this, but regardless, it certainly has happened in the US since since America's obsession with gender politics (the latest tulip-mania) began.