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The NDIS is designed to work alongside mainstream services such as health and education and to provide people with a disability supports to access them. It is not designed to replace them. Mental health services will remain the primary responsibility of the health system in each state. So, for example, people with early signs of a psychiatric condition should still utilise the health system in the first instance, so that they can be diagnosed and the condition immediately managed.
However, the National Disability Insurance Scheme comes into play when mental illness results in a psychosocial disability. ‘Psychosocial disability’ is a term used when someone’s mental illness impacts on their ability to participate fully in life – work, education, community participation. Impairments can include a loss of ability to function, think clearly, experience full physical health, and manage the social and emotional aspects of their life.
There are a number of criteria for accessing the NDIS with a mental disability:
Evidence will need to be provided by a qualified medical professional about the severity of the condition and whether it’s likely to be permanent, plus whether the condition has already been addressed in the mainstream mental health system. If you don’t already have these, you will be asked to provide any relevant assessments in your planning meetings with the NDIA.
Here’s a snapshot of which departments are responsible for under the NDIS:
Assessment, diagnosis and referral for people entering or exiting the State-based health system, including psychiatric conditions and mental illness
Assistance with planning and decision making and household tasks
Assistance to build capacity to live independently and achieve goals, such as building social relationships and skills such as financial management
Supports to engage in community activities such as recreation, education, training and employment.
Participants can choose to access their funded supports through centre-based services, in-home, day services, community access and outreach services.
Please note: people with early signs of a psychiatric condition should still utilise the health system in the first instance, so that they can be diagnosed and the condition immediately managed.
The NDIS recognises the importance of informal supports provided by family members and other carers and funded supports can therefore be included in the participant’s plan that sustain that care.
The types of things that can be included to sustain informal supports that may have benefits to carers include:
It’s important to remember that the NDIS is only responsible for supports which enable people with psychosocial disability to participate in everyday life so they can enjoy greater social inclusion and economic participation.
If you'd like assistance with your coping skills or in understanding and managing a psychosocial disability, please contact us on 1800 112 112 for a confidential conversation.
A pre-planning booklet to help you to think about the supports you want and need – now and in the future – before meeting with your NDIA planner.
A practical, comprehensive guide to the NDIS, to help people understand the various components of the NDIS and how to access them.
A handy guide of NDIS FAQs and a glossary so you can familiarise yourself with NDIS language before your planning meeting.