8.2 Advice: Implementing the NDIS for people with disabilities related to mental health issues (2014)


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When the NDIS was first designed, it didn’t include people with disabilities arising from mental health issues.  However, this was soon changed and it was estimated that this group would make up 10-15% of all participants.

It is acknowledged that people with disabilities arising from mental health would have some different needs from others in the Scheme, and in 2014 the IAC undertook a range of projects to help identify what these special needs might be and how the NDIS could best respond.

How are people with disabilities arising from mental health catered for?

What are the most appropriate responses and supports?

How will the NDIS work with the mental health sector and mainstream services to support these participants?

Two IAC members with specialist skills in this area worked on this paper – Dr Gerry Naughtin and Janet Meagher AM – and talked to a range of experts and consumers in this field.

The IAC advice recognises that people who have used traditional mental health services are likely to be much less ready to move into the NDIS than other groups and need greater and different supports to do this successfully.

There are a range of recommendations from this report about how the NDIS can sensitively respond to the needs of this particular group of participants, and how the response can be improved over time.  Some of the issues that need special attention are:

  •  Interpreting the idea of ‘permanent’ disability for this group
  • How to assess the degree of impairment
  • Defining what reasonable and necessary supports mean
  • Responding to the changing or fluctuating needs of people with mental illness
  • Successfully engaging with the mental health sector and mainstream services

As the Scheme grows and develops, there will be ongoing monitoring from the IAC on how the needs of this group are being catered for. (Note: this paper was developed in 2014 and based on feedback from the Trial period).

Read the IAC advice on how the NDIS is being implemented for people with mental health issues and how this could be improved over time.