Poverty and Depression in Australia

The measurement of poverty cannot be taken independently of national customs values standards of living. This means that in a relatively affluent country in Australia, the meaning of poverty is quite different from the absolute deprivation or subsistence poverty that exists in many developing countries.

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Depression Beyoundblue.org.auwww.beyondblue.org.au

Poverty in Australia

The World Bank has defined poverty as an inability to attain a minimal standard of living. (World Bank, 1990, p.26.) …In rich countries like Australia poverty is conceived in relative rather then absolute terms this implies that poverty is defined not in terms of a lack of sufficient resources to meet basic needs, but rather as lacking the resources required to be able to participate in the lifestyle and consumption patterns enjoyed by other Australians. To be relatively poor is thus to be forced to live in the margins of society, to be excluded from the normal sphere of consumption and activity that together defines social participation and national identity.’ (AusStats: 1996 Special Article – poverty and Deprivation in Australia. ABS Catalogue No. 1301.0).

In relation to divorce or separation, poverty is understood not only in terms of financial or material impoverishment as it also has wider emotional, physical and social implications for all those involved. Recently divorced or separated individuals may encounter social problems associated with economic disadvantage such as poor education, poor housing, social exclusion, poor health, crime, lack of employment opportunity and lack of childcare resources. Although common not everyone will necessarily experience all, or if any of these aspects of poverty. Regardless, there are many current community services that are available and can be accessed for support and assistance.


Poverty… often leads to depression. If you feel depressed, please consult your GP and see medicac help. There are friends and people around you who wish to see you well.

(Courtesy Beyond Blue)

  • Depression is not simply normal sadness, being moody or just a low mood, but a serious illness. It causes both physical and psychological symptoms.
  • Depression is common. Up to one in four females and one in six males will experience depression in their lifetime.
  • Depression is the leading cause of suicide.
  • Depression is often not recognised or treated.
  • Current treatments for depression are safe and effective.
  • Depression also commonly occurs with specific anxiety syndromes.
    • Anxiety is not just feeling tense or worried. It interferes markedly with a person’s capacity to go about their everyday life.
    • Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental disorders.
    • Anxiety often begins early in childhood (or the teenage years), and if untreated leads to depression, alcohol or substance abuse in later life
    • Most people with anxiety do not come forward for treatment.
    • Anxiety symptoms can be effectively treated.
    • Anxiety is best managed with non-drug treatments.

Please visit Beyond Blue website for depression and anxiety check lists.

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The review "Poverty and Depression in Australia" was last updated on 26/06/2009.