Mental illness remains shrouded in stigma, preventing many individuals from openly discussing its impact on their lives. While physical health is undeniably important, the significance of mental health cannot be overstated.
Unfortunately, society tends to prioritise visible issues, leading to the marginalisation of mental health concerns. As a result, individuals facing mental health challenges often feel compelled to suffer in silence, fearing how society might perceive and treat them if they were to share their experiences.
Fortunately, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) offers valuable services and support for those dealing with psychological disabilities. This article explores the ways in which the NDIS can be a crucial resource in aiding individuals with mental health conditions.
What is Psychological Disability?
The NDIS defines psychological disability as a condition that affects an individual’s ability to participate in social interactions and everyday activities. It encompasses emotional, psychiatric, and mental illnesses or persistent psychological disorders that hinder social interactions.
Upon being diagnosed with a psychological disability, individuals may encounter challenges in planning, pursuing employment goals, and engaging in education. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental health often deters people from seeking help.
Some common impacts of psychological disability include insomnia, restlessness, excessive thirst, and fatigue. Moreover, it can lead to long-term consequences, such as the development of anxiety disorders like OCD, bipolar depression, and PTSD.
Mental illness is a global issue, and many individuals facing psychological disabilities lack access to proper care and treatment, resulting in ongoing consequences. The NDIS plays a crucial role in providing adequate support and care to those who meet the eligibility criteria.
Mental illness can take various forms, presenting as either a temporary disability or a chronic condition.
Psychological Disability and NDIS Funding
In the absence of adequate support, communication, and community awareness, mental illness can significantly impact individuals. However, the NDIS steps in to offer crucial funding for reasonable and necessary support to assist those with psychological disorders.
By collaborating with various NDIS service providers and existing community-based mental health services, the NDIS plays a pivotal role in supporting individuals throughout their recovery journey.
The primary objective of the NDIS is to empower participants to achieve their goals, which may involve finding employment, engaging in social interactions with the community, enhancing economic participation, and fostering independence.
Given that mental illness can vary in intensity and present episodically, NDIS plans for psychosocial disability are designed with flexibility in mind. This means that the level of support may be adjusted throughout the NDIS plan period to meet individual needs. The NDIS will create a personalised plan, allowing you to access NDIS service providers of your choice to obtain the support you require.
How NDIS Can Help
The primary objective of the NDIS is to provide support and encouragement to individuals with mental health conditions, aiming to enhance their independence and increase their social participation. This is achieved by granting access to personalised and innovative services and support. However, to be eligible for the NDIS, certain criteria must be met:
Individuals must be between 7 and 65 years old. If under 7, an early childhood partner can provide support and assess eligibility for the child.
Applicants must be Australian citizens or hold specific visa types that permit living in Australia, such as permanent Visa holders and protected Special Category Visa holders.
The individual should have a disability caused by a permanent impairment.
Need for Specific Support
The applicant must typically require disability-specific support to carry out daily life activities.
Eligibility may also be granted if the individual needs some support currently to reduce future reliance on support or if their family requires assistance in developing skills to support them.
For individuals with mental health conditions or psychological disabilities, they need to fulfill the following five requirements
Impact on Social and Economic Well-being
The mental disability should significantly affect the person’s capacity for social participation and economic well-being.
Lifelong NDIS Support
The individual requires NDIS support throughout their lifetime.
Impairment Resulting from Mental Health Condition
There should be impairment due to the mental health condition.
Substantially Reduced Functional Capacity
The psychological disability must lead to substantially reduced functional capacity.
The psychological disability is expected to last a lifetime.
Upon approval of eligibility and receiving an NDIS Plan, registered NDIS service providers can offer various types of support, including:
- Assisting in achieving independence and self-reliance.
- Facilitating access to supports such as housing, health, and family support.
- Helping set and achieve personal goals.
- Developing confidence and personal skills.
- Providing coping mechanisms for handling everyday tasks.
- Offering support for entering the workplace and employment services.
To apply for an NDIS Plan with a psychological disability, one needs to contact their general practitioner (GP), who can support the application by providing necessary documentation, including medical records and appointment notes. If required, the GP can refer the individual to allied health professionals like occupational therapists or psychologists for additional assessments or evidence.
The NDIS assesses the impact of the psychological disability on various areas of daily life, including:
Ability to organise life, make decisions, and complete tasks.
Capacity to form and maintain relationships and regulate emotions and behavior.
Ability to move around and complete tasks at home and in the community.
Understanding or expressing written, spoken, or sign language.
Performing tasks related to eating, drinking, hygiene, grooming, and health care needs.
NDIS Doesn’t Offer Supports to Everyone with Mental Health Conditions
Living with a mental illness can present various challenges, but it’s important to note that not everyone with a mental illness automatically qualifies for NDIS support. The NDIS is specifically designed to provide assistance to individuals with a psychological disability, which significantly impairs their daily functioning and is likely to be long-term. Those with other mental health conditions may seek support through government services, local community support groups, and community mental health services.
Mental illness exerts a significant impact on individuals facing it. Unfortunately, the pervasive stigma surrounding this topic often prevents people from seeking help or discussing their conditions openly. However, for those with a psychological disability, the NDIS aims to offer comprehensive support to guide them and enhance their day-to-day lives.
Through funding, the NDIS enables participants to access the necessary support to foster their independence, inclusion, and economic and social participation. The support provided must be safe, demonstrate value for money, and be relevant to the impact of the psychological disability.
The NDIS plays a vital role in providing essential support and services to individuals with psychological disabilities, helping them overcome challenges and enhance their quality of life. While mental health stigma persists, the NDIS strives to break down barriers, offering personalised assistance and fostering independence. By addressing the specific needs of those with psychological disabilities, the NDIS contributes to creating a more inclusive and understanding society, where individuals can access the support they require to lead fulfilling lives.