Mental Health Australia has had a consistent advocacy role in the development of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) since its inception in 2013, leading the call for the inclusion of people with psychosocial disability, who were initially excluded from the scheme.
Because of the delay of their inclusion, as well as the poor understanding of the needs of people with a psychosocial disability and the inflexibility of the model, we have been playing catch up ever since.
However, there have been major wins over the last few years with changes to legislation to recognise psychosocial disability, greater flexibility in use of funds, and development of a recovery framework that is in the process of implementation.
It hasn’t been easy and sometimes that can overshadow the major benefit that the NDIS has brought to many people’s lives. Stories from consumers and carers who are in the scheme commonly refer to it as life changing. The mental health sector has come out strongly rebuking the idea that people with psychosocial disability should be excluded from the NDIS. That would be a backward step.
A change of government and a review of the NDIS, along with the work being undertaken through the National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Agreement to scope the funding needs of people with psychosocial disability outside the NDIS, all provide opportunities to improve support to vulnerable members of the community.
We don’t want to see these opportunities lost. Mental Health Australia will continue our advocacy for improvements to the NDIS and for increasing support for people with psychosocial disability outside the scheme. We look forward to continuing engagement with consumers and carers, the sector, NDIS, and governments to get the best outcomes possible.