One of the things we are proud of is supporting the production of a documentary promoting a broader understanding of this research – that improving equality improves outcomes and life chances for all – in The Spirit Level.
Just the other day I got this news that a doco short is ready as an initial taster.
But why would we support this campaign?
In a world where inequality is growing, social and health outcomes will fall for those subject to increased stress, insecure employment and unemployment, social isolation and poverty.
News this last week has not been great…
- Just this morning a pre-eminent indigenous Australian died 20 years younger than the average life expectancy for males in Australia. Kidney disease is experienced at 6 times the rate by indigenous people than other Australians, as a group indigenous persons receive kidney transplants less often, and are hospitalised at rates 11 times higher than others.
- Kidney disease in Australia has many causes. It results in 10% of hospitalisations. But ‘the incidence rate for end-stage renal disease for Indigenous Australians more than doubled between 1991 and 2008, from 31 to 76 per 100,000 population‘.
Did we mention that past weeks news item in Australian has been racism?
- Marmot and Wilkinson of the Spirit Level fame reports the health impacts of racism and discrimination as including hypertension, psychological distress, psychiatric disorder, poorer self-reported health and an increase in days spent unwell in bed (Marmot and Wilkinson, The Social Determinants of Health, 2011, p.257).
- Psychosocial factors also influence rates of stress and psychological distress. Chronic anxiety, insecurity, low self-esteem, social isolation and lack of control over work appear to undermine mental and physical health. (Marmot and Wilkinson, The Social Determinants of Health, 2011, p.28).
- All good reasons to think more about why the reasons even casual and unintended remarks cause much more than hurt.
And then there is the issue of growing insecurity across the globe…
- Unemployment is growing, reaching frightening proportions for younger people in some European countries. We found these graphs from the BBC illuminating.
- Unemployment is also on the rise in Australia, with some people in some places impacted more than others, so the experience is unequal and uneven.
- Back to Marmot and Wilkinson, unemployment and insecure employment can cause stress and psychological distress
- All Newstart recipients live under the poverty line.
- Many in receipt of Newstart are forced to make daily choices about eating, heating, paying bills and accommodation, hence the recent fuss by the Greens and many other welfare lobby groups to increase benefit levels.
- Living on Newstart can be quite stressful.
- Stress can cause physical illness and trigger mental illness.
But for those that find themselves in hardship and distress things are not getting any better. In fact the gap is widening…
- Just the other day the MJA announced the life gap for those with mental illness was increasing compared to those without. This means you are more likely to die younger
- Just at a time when we are implementing the NDIS it seems we now have to make up for lost ground as well.
If this disturbs you too, you can follow the campaign and perhaps pre-buy your copy of the documentary.