It is a new measure of the nation’s health, not in economic terms but in terms of our overall happiness.
It’s an initiative of the depression research clinic the Black Dog Institute, with Newspoll and The Australian on board as partners.
The index aims to put a score — at present 77 out of 100 — on how happy Australians feel. And the news is really good.
Most of us are happy and the things that make us happy — family, friends — have little to do with money.
The index also seeks to measure how many of us are suffering depression and may in fact feel that life is simply not worth living.
More than 2300 Australians took their own lives last year. Suicide is a bigger killer of young Australians than even motor vehicle accidents.
The Black Dog Index is not a one-off; Newspoll will track the issues over time to see whether the score fluctuates alongside the unemployment rate or changes to interest rates and other major events.
The Australian hopes that others will refer to the Black Dog Index as an important measure of the nation’s wellbeing, but also to start a conversation on a subject once considered taboo for media — suicide, and how to prevent it.
As first appeared in The Australian, 28 August 2012