Mental Health in the NDIS
Mental Health in the NDIS
If you have a mental health issue/s NDIS providers can provide services for you if you are eligible.
What are considered mental health issues?
Mental health issues include depression, anxiety, paranoia, bipolar disorders. These are the broad, general issues while there are also more specific issues such as bipolar II disorder or social anxiety.
What are causes of mental health issues?
There are many causes of mental health issues – so it is hard to exactly say but some include trauma, childhood abuse, isolation, poverty, unemployment, drug, alcohol abuse, homelessness, having an unrelated medical issue or disability.
The recommended services for someone with mental health issues will vary however the most common is to see a registered psychologist or psychiatrist with experience.
NDIS and mental health
When it comes to the NDIS, not every mental health issue is considered a disability. NDIS is specifically for those with long term, severe disabilities. So when it comes to eligibility, the mental health issues has to be classified as a psychosocial disability where it clearly has an impact on everyday life. For the average person – who may suffer bouts of depression or go through a brief period of anxiety would not be qualified as a “psychosocial disability”. The NDIS has a strict criteria which you can read about in the Access Request Form.
You would have to explain how the disability/ mental health issue affects your mobility, communication, socialising, learning, self care, self- management.
According to the NDIS a specific mental health diagnosis is preferred but not essential. You must provide evidence of a mental health condition to access the NDIS but the mental condition doesn’t have to be named. NDIS is focused on the impact of the issue, not on the diagnosis itself.
To become an NDIS participant, you must:
- be an Australian citizen, or have a permanent or Special Category Visa (SCV) AND
- be under 65 years old when you apply to join the NDIS AND
- live in an area where the NDIS is available.
If you have a mental health condition and want to access the NDIS, you must meet the above criteria and provide evidence that:
- your mental health condition has caused difficulties in your everyday life AND
- the difficulties you experience as a result of your mental health condition mean you will likely always
require NDIS support AND
- the difficulties you experience as a result of your mental health issue have substantially reduced
your ability to do everyday activities.
To have someone assess your mental health issue the standard process is to see a GP, who will then refer you to a psychologist/counsellor/psychiatrist depending on their assessment. However, sometimes a referral may not even be necessary – however we recommend you chose your psychologist wisely if you aren’t receiving a referral from a GP.
There are even online therapy options for those who have very severe anxiety or other mental health issues that wouldn’t be able to attend in person.
Psychosocial recovery coaches
NDIS funds psychologists under Capacity Building – Improved Daily Living or Support Coordination. Psychosocial Recovery Coaches are another option which is funded by the NDIS – psychosocial recovery coaches have tertiary qualifications in peer work/mental health or equivalent training and/or a minimum of 2 years experience in mental- health related work.
There are three main types of psychosocial recovery coaches under the NDIS
- Those with lived experienced
- Those without
- Those with both
A lived experience psychosocial recovery coach may be able to apply their knowledge of the participant’s mental illness to more effectively coach and guide the participant; however it is important to mention that not necessarily all lived experienced recovery coaches will be more effective than those without lived experience. There are a range of factors that can be involved such as coaching style, understanding of the mental illness, communication etc.
A psychosocial recovery coach costs (for weekdays) $80.90 an hour (daytime), $89.05 (evenings), $90.68 (nights) for national locations. For more information please visit the Price Guide.
It is also a good idea to read through the psychosocial recovery coach guide if that is something that interests you.
Psychosocial recovery coaches and plan managers
It is important for psychosocial recovery coaches to work collaboratively with plan managers. Plan managers can advise on what areas of NDIS fund participants have left, and can provide more information about what is “reasonable and necessary“. It is important to structure and prioritise your NDIS fund to what requires the most attention. NDIS plan managers will ensure that your funding is used effectively.
Mental health organisations in Australia