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Concerns People With Mental Illness Could Fall Through Gap of NDIS


9 January 2017 at 4:52 pm
Wendy Williams
The not-for-profit sector is calling for urgent action amid concerns people living with a mental illness could “fall through the gaps” as the National Disability Insurance Scheme absorbs some mental health services.


Wendy Williams | 9 January 2017 at 4:52 pm


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Concerns People With Mental Illness Could Fall Through Gap of NDIS
9 January 2017 at 4:52 pm

The not-for-profit sector is calling for urgent action amid concerns people living with a mental illness could “fall through the gaps” as the National Disability Insurance Scheme absorbs some mental health services.

Mission Australia has joined with others across the sector to urge the Commonwealth to “acknowledge this emerging issue” and ensure there is adequate support for those who currently receive government support but will not be eligible for the NDIS.

According to some reports, more than 100,000 people living with a mental illness could be left without support as money from a number of federal programs is rolled into the $22 billion scheme.

Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans confirmed some community-based, recovery-oriented programs had been scheduled to cease which could have significant consequences.

“As part of the phased introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, funding for several important mental health programs including PHaMs [Personal Helpers and Mentors Program] has been earmarked to transition to the NDIA,” Yeomans told Pro Bono News .

“This means that these community-based, recovery-oriented programs are scheduled to cease.

“Mission Australia is concerned that a significant number of clients living with a moderate and/or episodic mental illness who rely on support through such programs may not meet the eligibility criteria for NDIS.

“If this issue isn’t speedily resolved, we will see a rise in the number of people experiencing mental illness in the community who will fall through the gaps in the system and have no support.”

Yeomans said the federal government needed to ensure that people living with a mental illness were supported.

“We join with many others across the sector to urge the Commonwealth to acknowledge this emerging issue,” she said.

“We call on it to lead a co-design process with the NDIA, state and territory governments, the non-government sector, consumers and carers to ensure that people living with a mental illness who aren’t currently eligible for NDIS funding can receive vital support services.”

A spokesperson for the minister for social services said the departments of health and social services were working closely together on the issue.

“Community supports for people with a disability arising from a mental illness will be significantly improved through the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme,” they said.

“The NDIS, however, can only ever be a part of the policy and service response to this complex and challenging need among some of the most vulnerable people in our community. That is why the departments of health and social services are working closely together on these issues, in relation to the NDIS and also in relation to mainstream services outside the NDIS.

“In its 2011 report on the NDIS, the Productivity Commission (PC) estimated that around 13.9 per cent of NDIS clients with an individually funded package would be people with a primary psychosocial disability. Evidence from recently concluded trial period indicates that the number of clients and the costs of their packaged are within the PC’s estimates.

“Adjusted for population growth the PC’s estimates would see around 64,000 people with a primary psychosocial disability in the NDIS at full scheme (2019/20).”

A senate inquiry has also been established to investigate the provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition.

The due date for submissions is 27 February, with the joint committee expected to report by 22 June.


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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