"There is strong evidence that not having a job, even for a short time, can impact your mental health in a very negative way," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this week after the Productivity Commission issued its report into mental health.
"It is a significant disruptive life event that can trigger many mental health episodes. People receiving unemployment benefits are three times as likely to have anxiety or depression as wage earners are.
"This is not only as a result of financial hardship, but often associated with limited social support, loneliness and a decreased sense of personal control and achievement.”
It is difficult to know exactly how much unemployment has grown this year as a result of COVID-19, given the impact of JobKeeper and other government initiatives on this number. However, the government has said the unemployment rate reached as high as 13 per cent before dropping back to about 9 per cent. It is expected to increase again as Jobkeeper is phased out. There has been a similar pattern in underemployment and hours worked.