Surviving unemployment: new conference looks at the health of our jobless

Monday, 19 October 1998

Unemployment should be considered a health problem not just an economic one, according to a new conference being held in Adelaide this week.

For the first time in South Australia, young people, academics, professionals and other members of the community will gather to discuss the major health issues linked with youth unemployment.

The one-day conference, called Surviving Unemployment, will be held on Tuesday, October 20 at the Noarlunga Community Arts Centre, 22 Gawler Street, Port Noarlunga.

The southern suburbs is one of the worst areas for unemployment in Adelaide, with youth jobless rates in some areas reaching as high as 60%.

Surviving Unemployment is aimed at raising awareness of the wide range of direct and indirect health issues associated with unemployment, such as:

  • the physical and mental health impacts on school leavers who can't find work
  • alcohol and drug use as an "escape from boredom"
  • low self esteem and higher risk-taking behaviours

Why is unemployment a social health problem? Are recreation, training and "work for the dole" the answers? What can we do as a community? These questions and more will be raised at the conference.

Key speakers include:

  • Dr Tony Winefield, Department of Psychology, University of Adelaide, who has conducted leading research into the psychological impact of unemployment.
  • Professor Mark Harris, Department of General Practice, University of Western Sydney, who has extensive experience in the impact of unemployment on health.
  • A panel of young people who will speak about their experiences of being unemployed.

Surviving Unemployment will also provide an overview of the current climate impacting upon young jobless people and try to come up with some solutions to these nation-wide problems.

The conference has been organised by Noarlunga Health Services in conjunction with the University of Adelaide's Centre for Labour Research and is supported by the City of Onkaparinga and Healthy Cities. The project is funded by the SA Health Commission.


Contact Details

Ms Susan Pettifer
Noarlunga Health Services
Business: +61 8 8384 9232

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762