In an article in The Australian last week, Patrick McGorry, former Australian of the Year, and Director of the Orygen Naional Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health said, 'The last-minute decision to include mental health support in the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme was a costly, dangerous mistake that should be unwound before lasting damage is done.' He went on to say that 'the biggest issue here is that the state governments have already dismantled the community mental health system, the clinical system with doctors and support. All that is left now is emergency rooms and acute care, the system is collapsing at a state level. People think we are having an NDIS instead of a mental health system'.
McGorry continued to make these points in an interview on Radio National Breakfast.
Radio National’s introduction to the interview cited the beyondblue submission to the Joint Standing Committee inquiry on psychosocial disabilty and the NDIS. beyondblue’s submission made the point that while it supports the scheme it fears some mentally ill may be worse off under the NDIS.
In an article last week, Frank Quinlan CEO of Mental Health Australia provided a timely reminder that the key reason the Productivity Commission was convinced to include psychosocial disability within the scope of the NDIS was because of the advocacy of people with lived experience of mental health issues and psychosocial disability. He reflects that much of the confusion and difficulty since, has arisen because too many have assumed this means moving the mental health system completely into the NDIS. He concludes that 'the solution lies in making both systems work, and it would be a mistake to choose one or the other'.
An ABC News article on 23 March provided further examples of people living with a mental illness may lose critical supports as services transition to the NDIS. Action is needed to ensure people living with mental illness who are not eligible for the NDIS are able to access the psychosocial support they need in the community. Fears mental health support will disappear with NDIS rollout.
Mental Health Carers Australia's CEO, Jenny Branton, expressed her concern to The Canberra Times that the change could leave some people with mental health illnesses without case workers and their carers without support to have regular respite from the challenging work.
Tips for getting into the NDIS for people with psychosocial disability.
Resources for Consumers and Carers collated by Mental Health Australia.
Factsheet on psychosocial disability, recovery and the NDIS.
A short video was released by the NSW Mental Health Commission which features the experiences of a mental health consumer and carer in the NDIS in the Hunter region NSW.
Kylie, who has a psychosocial disability related to a mental health condition shares her story about how the NDIS has provided certainty and continuity of funding for the supports she needs to help her and her family live a contributing live, as well as her experience of having more choice and control over who provides support.
The NDIA has developed a Quarterly Sector Communique from the National Mental Health Sector Reference Group. This group provides expert advice from the mental health sector to the NDIA about mental health and the NDIS.