CEO Update - A new NDIS psychosocial stream

 CEO Update, Mental Health Australia


Speaking frankly...                                       

A new NDIS psychosocial stream

Since the earliest days of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Mental Health Australia, and indeed the mental health sector as a whole, has advocated strongly for more appropriate responses to the needs of people with psychosocial disability. 

Last week, we saw results of this joint advocacy effort with an announcement from the Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher, and Assistant Minister for Disability Services Sarah Henderson, of a commitment to a new NDIS psychosocial disability stream. The NIDA announced at the same time that it would work with Mental Health Australia to implement a range of improvements to the NDIS pathway for people with psychosocial disability.

These improvements include:

  • Stronger connections between the NDIA and mental health sector;
  • Specialised training and teams to work with people with psychosocial disability engaging with the NDIS, and
  • A focus on recovery-based planning and episodic needs.

These improvements will be delivered in addition to improvements to the NDIS pathway announced in August, including a dedicated stream for children who are deaf or hard of hearing to access timely and appropriate supports.

This announcement follows Mental Health Australia’s report to the National Disability Insurance Agency offering a vision for a more comprehensive psychosocial response, along with 29 recommendations about the development of the NDIS Psychosocial Pathway.
Our report reflects contributions from the many people with psychosocial disability, their carers and service providers who shared their stories and suggestions to improve the scheme with us earlier in the year. 
Our intention is to continue working with the NDIA as it works to implement the recommendations in the report and address additional challenges for participants, carers and providers. We will focus on those issues that came through loud and clear as priorities during consultations, for example providing assertive outreach in the community well before people become a participant, improving NDIA and partner staff psychosocial disability specific competencies, and improving the balance of plans so supports can better assist people to participate socially and economically.

We are currently working with the NDIA to plan all the operational details of the new psychosocial disability stream – it’s a work in progress – but we do know the agency will need input from the sector. To provide good advice to the NDIA over the coming months, Mental Health Australia will again seek the expertise of participants, carers, member organisations and other key networks. 

This change will take time, but it will bring good to the lives of many.

Your on-the-ground experience and expertise contributed to this important change in direction, and will be integral to our capacity to provide good ongoing advice, so I appreciate your contributions in advance.

Warm regards,

Frank Quinlan

Chief Executive Officer

Grace Groom Memorial Oration, Parliamentary Advocacy Day and Members' Policy Forum

A reminder to members and friends of Mental Health Australia to register your tickets for this year's upcoming Grace Groom Memorial Oration (on Monday 26 November from 6:30pm), presented by journalist and media personality Tracey Spicer. 

You are also reminded to register your place at the Parliamentary Advocacy Day and Members' Policy Forum which will take place the following day on Tuesday 27 November from 9:30am at Parliament House, Canberra.

Visit to register.

Next Week

On Monday, the National Multicultural Mental Health Project team will be meeting with the Project Alliance (FECCA, NEDA, Consumer and Carer Representatives, and Mental Health Australia). The Policy team and I will spend some time strategising about our approach to the Productivity Commission Review of Mental Health. I will also be meeting with Shawn van der Linden from Converge International.


On Tuesday I will meet with Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray, and Kylie Ruth, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Government relations.


I will join the Consumer and Carer Programs team in Melbourne for a meeting of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum on Friday


Also on Friday, Belinda Highmore will attend a Disability Roundtable convened by the new Minister for Social Services, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP. 



New report shows 3 million Australians living in poverty

A new analysis by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and UNSW Sydney released this week shows national poverty rates remain high despite Australia experiencing decades of uninterrupted economic growth.

The Poverty in Australia 2018 Report, launched by ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie on Tuesday, finds there are just over 3 million people (13.2%) living below the relative poverty line, including 739,000 children (17.3%). In Australia, the poverty line is defined as a single adult living on less than $433 a week.

Dr Goldie said these findings demonstrated poverty was now a consistent part of Australian life. 

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NSW begins journey towards zero suicides

People who have been admitted to hospital following an attempted suicide and those who have reached out for help will have access to follow up care and support under a new comprehensive strategy that marks the beginning of our journey towards zero suicides in NSW.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies announced nearly $90 million for new suicide prevention initiatives during the launch of the state’s first comprehensive suicide prevention strategy.

“The tragic loss of life from suicide leaves families and communities devastated and we shouldn’t accept the current rates,” Ms Berejiklian said.

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Aussie workers too scared to take mental health leave

New research has shown that despite mental health leave being available for workers, more than half of employees are reluctant to take it. This is largely due to a fear of the repercussions for taking mental health leave, with 55% of people in the SEEK survey confirming they have avoided taking leave, despite needing it. Of those surveyed, 72% believed that their workplace had a negative impact on their mental health.

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Member Profiles

On the Line is a professional social health business that provides counselling support, anywhere and anytime. They are experts in men’s mental health, anger management, family violence (using and experiencing), healthy relationships, integrated wellbeing, mental health, chronic health conditions, problematic drug and alcohol abuse and, suicide and trauma-informed practice for anyone affected by suicide. With over 55 years’ experience delivering mental health services to the community, corporate and community partners, On the Line is a national provider of some of Australia’s most vital and trusted services including MensLine Australia, Suicide Call Back Service and SuicideLine Victoria.

Website –



Marathon Health is a not-for-profit primary health care organisation that delivers health services and programs to regional and remote communities. They are committed to working together to achieve optimal health outcomes for all. Marathon Health has strong networks in the health sector, innovative community partnerships, and a commitment to delivering sustainable health outcomes. Their vision is for equality in health and wellbeing for our rural, regional and remote communities.



Head to Health

Head to Health is an online hub that aims to better connect people to information, advice, and free or low-cost mental health services and supports. The portal was developed through a comprehensive co-design process with consumers, carers, service providers, health professionals, and the general community, and was launched in October 2017. There has been close to 330,000 sessions and over 600,000 page views since launch. For a quick overview of Head to Health, view this short video or visit the website via the link below:

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A new way to get help accessing NDIS services

The Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) Intake Service, run by Neami National and Each, is assisting people with a mental illness to access the NDIS. MHCSS work collaboratively with other services to help people to understand, engage in and complete the NDIS access process. The service can help with gathering supporting evidence, completing access applications, liaison with health services including GPs, and advocacy. Read the flyer for more details.

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Request for Tender (Adelaide)

Adelaide PHN has issued a Request for Tender (RFT) from organisations interested in becoming the lead agency for headspace Adelaide Centre and headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program (hYEPP). The Australian Government Department of Health recently requested Adelaide PHN to approach the market and transition to a new Lead Agency for headspace Adelaide Centre and hYEPP by 30 June 2019. The RFT is now open on the Tenderlink e-procurement website and will close at 12:00 midday ACDT Friday 9 November 2018. 

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National Arts & Disability Strategy consultation meetings

Australian Government and state/territory cultural ministers have agreed to renew the National Arts and Disability Strategy (NADS) for 2019. A national consultation process has been announced and will run until 3 December 2018. The consultation is the first step in renewing the NADS in consultation with arts and disability stakeholders. This is a chance for people with disability, organisations and carers to contribute stories and ideas about arts and disability. Individuals and organisations can make a written, video or audio submission, complete the online survey, or come to a face-to-face meeting. Upcoming face-to-face consultations will occur in Darwin, Broome, Melbourne, Geelong and Canberra.  

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Become a mental health peer worker

Mind Australia will run a one day workshop for anyone with a lived experience of mental health issues and recovery (either directly or as a carer) who would like to become a mental health peer worker. Peer workers use their unique perspectives to inform change within mental health services.

This is a paid course running on Monday 12 November in Heidelberg in Victoria. Learn more via the link below.

Read more


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