Changes to the NDIS: Focus on episodic needs and on recovery based planning

By Warren Heggarty

The government has recognised the need for specialised approach to planning for people with disabilities that come from ‘severe and persistent’ mental health issues under the NDIS. 

This follows a recommendation from Mental Health Australia in its National Disability Insurance Scheme Psychosocial Disability Stream Report. The intention is to provide better support for 64,000 people with psychosocial disability as well as their families and carers. 

The Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher and Assistant Minister for Disability Services Sarah Henderson made the announcement on World Mental Health Day. 

Assistant Minister Henderson thanked the many people including NDIS participants, families, carers, mental health professionals, advocates and agencies who informed the report’s recommendations. 

The Psychosocial Disability Support Stream will be rolled out progressively. One of the things it includes will be to employ specialised planners and local area coordinators. Another is a ‘focus on recovery-based planning and episodic needs.’ 

This is a recognition that mental health recovery journeys do not take place in a straight line. It is common for people to experience a ‘zigzagging’ in their level of wellness over time. 

One of the big concerns of the mental health sector has been about people ‘falling through the cracks’ with the introduction of the NDIS. 

As government funding was taken away from previous services like Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) it was feared that the people who accessed those services would not re-engage with them through the NDIS. 

According to Pro Bono magazine, By July 2018, only 10 per cent, or 2,030 people, from PHaMs had transitioned to the NDIS. 

Some estimates show that there are up to 690,000 people living with severe mental health issues Australia. Always remember that Flourish Australia can help you plan your NDIS package. 

NDIS Team: 1300 356 874 or ndis@flourishaustralia.org.au

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