The mental health sector and Quality Health Care is celebrating the announcement of a psycho-social stream for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The additional stream will employ specialised staff and planners and focus on the episodic nature of mental illness. We still believe there is a great deal more to be done especially for those who are still struggling to access the scheme in the first place.
Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher announced the stream to coincide with World Mental Health Day, and said it was a critical step in supporting the 64,000 Australians with a psycho-social disability and followed recommendations made by Mental Health Australia.
Community Mental Health Australia executive director Amanda Bresnan said: “This is something the sector and CMHA has been calling for, for quite some time and it’s great the government is doing something like this which will have benefits for people with psycho-social disability, but also raised concerns over those with psycho-social disability who weren’t eligible for the NDIS, or those who missed out because they weren’t engaging in the scheme.
The sector has previously raised concerns over the number of people who would fall through the gaps when federal initiatives such as the Personal Helpers and Mentor program (PHaMs) closed, and funding moved to the NDIS. It was found in July that only 10 per cent, or 2,030 people, from PHaMs had transitioned to the NDIS, out of the estimated 690,000 people living with a severe mental illness in Australia.
Bresnan said it was important to keep an eye on how services were rolled out over the coming months. “We still need to see the details about how it will actually be implemented, how it will be applied exactly, and where the expertise is located,” she said.