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Social Support and Wellbeing

Social Support measured how much support respondents received from other people, and was measured by two indicators44: Social Exclusion45and Social Connectedness46. Overall, 42% of respondents (n= 1,853) reported to have a poor social support. Certain subgroups were found to have significantly higher proportion of poor social supports, including: asylum seeker/refugee,
Disability Support Pension recipients, Homeless, and respondents with
temporary accommodation. 

“I am lonely for my family but it is not safe or wise to be around them.”
“I have no friends or family.”

Respondents who were homeless47 experienced high levels of social exclusion (74%), poor social connectedness (46%) and poor social support (60%).

Sixty-seven per cent of asylum seekers experienced poor social support.

Overall, 44% of respondents identified they often feel very lonely. Those who are significantly more lonely compared to the other subgroups were:

• Recipients of Disability Support (52% being lonely)
• Single with no children (49% being lonely).

“I don’t know if I can continue living anymore. Everyone battling to keep themselves together, but I have given up the fight I have no one and nothing…all I have is the distant memory of a better life I had in the past.”

“I feel that I let my children down by not being able to provide a home for them.”

I am a mother with mental health issues…it leaves you feeling isolated and judged by others.”

“…when life does become overwhelming it's easy to stay inside and away from everyone.”

Personal wellbeing was measured according to respondents’ standard of living, health, achievement, personal relationships, safety, community, future security, spirituality/religion, and overall life satisfaction.

Respondents (n=1,885) experienced significantly lower scores (45.93) on the Personal Wellbeing Index48 compared to the National average (75.25), a difference of 29.32 points.

Across each domain, respondents scored significantly lower on personal wellbeing compared to the national average, by approximately 30 points. This indicates that respondents perceived themselves to have significantly poorer quality of life, standard of living and had significantly lower overall life satisfaction compared to average Australians.

Across each domain, particular subgroups demonstrated significantly lower scores on the Personal Wellbeing Index. Respondents with the lowest rates of personal wellbeing were subgroups from: homeless, couch surfing or had temporary accommodation, had no income or were Newstart recipients and were single (with or without children); and were more than 30 points less, compared to the national average. This suggested that our respondents, in light of their current life circumstances, experience very poor levels of life satisfaction and personal wellbeing compared to the wider Australian population. 

44. http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/hilda/Stat_Report/statreport-v7-2012.pdf
45. Statements for Social Exclusion were: “People don’t come to visit me as soon as I would like”, “I often need help from other people but can’t get it”, “I don’t have anyone that I can confide in”, “I have no one to lean on in times of trouble”, “I often feel very lonely”
46. Statements for Social Connectedness were: “I seem to have a lot of friends”, “There is someone who can always cheer me up when I’m down”, “I enjoy the time I spend with the people who are important to me”, “When something’s on my mind, just talking with the people I know can make me feel better”, “When I need someone to help me out, I can usually find someone”
47. Homelessness is defined as living on the streets, car, or makeshift dwelling.48. PWI categories include: Standard of living, health, achievement, personal relationships, safety, community, future security, spirituality/religion, overall life satisfaction.