More than half of all unemployed people suffer from insomnia and about one in six have thought of committing suicide, a new survey has revealed. The Neighbourhood and Workers' Service Centre interviewed about 921 unemployed people on changes to their daily lives as a result of becoming jobless. It showed that 30 per cent of them had been unemployed for more than a year, About 144 interviewees said they had thought about committing suicide, while 60 per cent, or 548 people, said they often suffered from insomnia since being made unemployed. Yan Wing-hong, a labour officer at the centre, said many unemployed people suffered from mental problems, but they did not seek counselling. 'The first, and probably the only, department, that pops up in their head is the Labour Department,' he said. According to the survey, 73 per cent of unemployed people had sought help from the Labour Department but 7 per cent had looked for psychological support from the Social Welfare Department or support groups. Mr Yan suggested the government team up with the Social Welfare Department and the Labour Department to provide counselling services for the unemployed, since many voluntary organisations lacked funding for publicity. 'The funding they received from the government is barely sufficient to run the service properly,' he said. He said that another study from Hong Kong University's centre for suicide research and prevention had shown that about 40 per cent of people who committed suicide in recent years had done so out of financial despair. 'The number [of suicides] will definitely increase if the government fails to strengthen mental support for unemployed people,' he said The survey also found 60 per cent of unemployed people had cut spending on their children and 42 per cent said relations between family members had deteriorated since they were made unemployed. While unemployed people tried every means to cut all non-essential expenses, their children are less likely to receive a well rounded education, he said. Fifteen respondents told interviewers that they had thought of resorting to theft or robbery to make ends meet. 'The number may appear insignificant at the moment. However, it will grow as the unemployment problem persists,' Mr Yan warned.