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How does the NDIS work with people seeking mental health support?

Two friends talking sitting in a couch in the living room with a window in the background at home

When it comes to mental health and the NDIS, there can be a lot of confusion. And understandably so. Mental health covers a huge spectrum. Not all people with mental health issues would be considered to have a disability and therefore are not eligible for the scheme. Here, we take a look at how the NDIS supports people with mental health issues, and how you can use platforms like Mable to find flexible, affordable support.

To get you started, these mental health action snapshots from the NDIS provide information on how to access funding under the scheme. They also contain useful mythbusters about the NDIS and mental health. We’ve broken it down here for you with some of the most common questions we receive.

Who is eligible for the NDIS?

Deborah Roberts, Director of the Mental Health Team within the NDIS describes the scheme as a new way of providing support for people with a disability, including those with a psychosocial disability, to have an ordinary life. When it comes to eligibility, the definition of psychosocial disability is important. Psychosocial disability is the term used to describe a disability arising from a mental health issue. Not everyone who has a mental health issue will have a disability. It might be considered to be a disability if it is severe, longstanding and impacts your recovery.

I have a psychosocial disability – how do I know if I am eligible for the NDIS?

If you have a psychosocial disability and want to access the scheme, you will need to have a permanent or likely-to-be permanent disability as a result of your mental health condition. The condition must have a significant impact on your day to day life and your ability to participate in the community. It also needs to be likely that you will require support in these areas for the rest of your life.

I think I am eligible, so how do I access the NDIS?

There are three components you need to access the NDIS. Firstly you must be under 65. Secondly, you must be an Australian Citizen, permanent resident or meet certain visa requirements and living in a roll out area. Thirdly, you must qualify under the disability requirement we’ve described above.

Click through here to access the NDIS checklist designed to help you decide if you are eligible to apply. If you do meet the criteria, call the NDIA on 1800 800 110 and ask to make an Access Request. More information on how to apply, and where you can find help can be found here.

Do I need to share my mental health diagnosis to access the NDIS?

As part of the process, you will need to provide evidence of your mental health condition and psychosocial disability. This might be information from your psychiatrist or psychologist. You do not necessarily have to share a diagnosis – although this is preferable. The NDIA is more concerned with evidence of a mental health condition. That means, it is interested in the impact of the mental health condition, rather than the diagnosis itself.

How does the NDIS work with mental health recovery?

The NDIS is person-centred providing participants with an individual plan and funding. You set your goals, decide what supports you would require that would be deemed reasonable and necessary , how these supports should be provided and who should provide them. Similarly, your recovery is a very personal journey and the NDIA understand that recovery is individual and can fluctuate. The NDIS is designed to help support you in your recovery. That means it should incorporate flexibility so you can have more or less support when you need it.

What sort of support can I get with the NDIS?

Your funding will provide ‘reasonable and necessary supports’ around every day activities to build skills and help you engage with your community and employment or education. You can use your NDIS funding to engage independent support workers with relevant skills and experience via the Mable platform. How they support you is up to you, and will be determined by your plan, which sets out your goals and how you will achieve them.

What are the options for managing my NDIS plan?

There are three options for how you can manage your NDIS plan. You can either choose one of these options, or mix and match them to support your needs.

Agency managed plans are plans that are managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). You will need to work with a registered provider who will work with the NDIA to arrange support for you. The NDIA also holds all your funds.

Plan managed plans refers to when you have a financial intermediary – such as a plan management organisation like Plan Partners or My Plan Manager. They manage the financial aspects of your plan such as paying invoices and making claims from the NDIS portal on your behalf. If you choose this option, you will receive extra funds to cover the service of plan management.

Self-managed plans allows you to do just that; manage your own funds and have complete control over how they are used. This is the most flexible option, allowing you to use registered and non-registered providers which is useful in the area of mental health as your current support providers may not necessarily be registered with the NDIS.

If you are interested in having more control over who you engage in your support team, plan managed or self managed are better options. By choosing one of these two, you can use platforms like Mable to search and directly hire from a community of independent support workers who may have experience in mental health.

What kind of support can I find on Mable?

Maria, an independent support worker offering her services directly to clients via Mable, signed up while she was finalising her Masters in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

She provides clients with social and domestic support, applying practical skills developed in her studies when supporting clients.

“There are so many little things you can do support your clients; for me, I like to practice mindfulness and grounding exercises when clients feel overwhelmed. Anything from going for a walk in the fresh air, and observing the world around us. If we go out for a meal, we discuss what flavours we’re tasting. When I’m working with clients, I try to encourage them to be as present as possible.”

Interested in finding out more about how you can use NDIS funding to build a support team that works for your life and your recovery? Click through here.

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