Home > VCOSS VOICE > Disability >

Warning on NDIS mental health gaps. . .

Warning on NDIS mental health gaps

By Carly Nowell.
Published on the VCOSS Voice on 22 March 2017.
http://vcoss.org.au/blog/ndis-mental-health-gaps/

CC Flickr Hernán Piñera

The National Disability Insurance Scheme has been hailed as Australia’s biggest social reform since Medicare.

People living with a disability will receive more support and greater control over their lives. But it’s time we talked about the tens of thousands of people with mental illness who are likely to miss out.

To receive a NDIS package, people must prove they have a “permanent and severe disability”. This is a very high bar for obvious reasons. The NDIS is about lifetime support for those most in need; it isn’t for short-term support.

But some people with moderate or severe mental health issues will not meet this threshold, despite needing support to navigate life. These are people who are likely to recover if given the right support.

Some others—particularly young people—may have trouble proving their eligibility because they lack a formal diagnosis.

Others will be extremely uncomfortable being forced to label their condition a “permanent” disability. Doing so can create stigma and distress, and contradicts the widely accepted ‘recovery model’ of mental illness rehabilitation.

The net result is troubling: a large number of people living with serious mental health conditions—up to 10,000 in Victoria alone—are forecast to be ineligible for support under the NDIS.

Before the NDIS came along, this group were largely supported by Victorian Government funded community-based mental health services. These organisations help people with mental health stay healthy, work, study, care for their families and participate in community life. But Victoria has already begun allocating all of its community-based mental health services funding to the NDIS.

So, if the National Disability Insurance Scheme won’t assist this group and Victorian authorities are redirecting their money elsewhere, who will provide support?

It’s entirely unclear what services will be available to this group, or how they will be funded.

Without adequate support, people with mental health conditions face a bleak and uncertain future. Their recovery and mental wellbeing will be at risk.

 

So, if the National Disability Insurance Scheme won’t assist this group and Victorian authorities are redirecting their money elsewhere, who will provide support?

 

Such an outcome is likely to increase pressure on other public services.

There’ll be more hospital admissions.There’ll be more demand for crisis accommodation and a greater reliance on welfare.More people will be at risk of entering the justice system.

Inadequate support is also likely to put extra pressure on families and carers.

Community mental health rehabilitation services must continue to be funded outside of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The future mental health of thousands of Victorians is hanging in the balance.

Banner image: CC/Flickr/Hernán Piñera.

This entry was posted in Disability, VicBudget2017. Bookmark the permalink.