Reimagining mental health and the NDIS – new online resource

28 September 2017

Does the NDIS cover mental health treatment? Will people’s psychologists be covered by the NDIS? What services are available for people with mental health conditions? James Condren interviews Kat Fardian of Mental Health Coordinating Council about a new online resource that helps people with mental health conditions better understand the NDIS.

Why did you make this website?

Since the launch of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) the mental health community identified that they were having problems understanding and accessing the new scheme. So Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) partnered with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to create an online resource to support people living with mental health conditions to better understand psychosocial disability and how the NDIS can support recovery. The website was co-designed with people with lived experience of a mental health condition, psychosocial disability and/or the NDIS along with other stakeholders and subject experts.

Is the website accessible for people with intellectual disabilities, and other disabilities?

Although the website was not designed specifically for people with intellectual disabilities we have worked hard to try to make it accessible for people with a range of disabilities. We have tried to keep concepts and language simple and built in a range of website accessibility features.

Does it use Easy Read, plain English and larger fonts?

The NDIS is often seen as complex and confusing and uses a lot of language that many people may not be familiar with. During the development of MHCC worked hard to try and simplify these complex ideas into plain English and explain the NDIS terminology as simply as possible. Users also have the ability to adjust text size to be larger to make sure people with vision impairments can easily access the information.

Is it accessible for people who are blind?

Yes! was developed to meet the web standard for accessibility (WCAG 2.0) and the website and its resources were designed and tested to be accessible for screen-readers.

Does the NDIS cover mental health treatment?

No. The NDIS does not provide mainstream health or mental health services. Treatment is still provided by GPs, private providers like psychiatrists and psychologists. However, the NDIS may be able to provide support around accessing these services. For example support to get to medical appointments or a supporter to help at the visits. It will depend on your personal situation.

Will people’s psychologists be covered by the NDIS?

What MHCC is mostly hearing is that an NDIS participant can use their funds to see a private psychologist; sometimes the NDIA may want them to first use the ten visits that are affordably available through Medicare reimbursement.

What services are available for people with mental health conditions?

The website explores a range of support options available for people living with a mental health condition, whether or not they have a psychosocial disability. It explores both NDIS supports as well as other mainstream and community support options people could access, including peer support.

Are the NDIS rates enough to pay for mental health services?

There is a lot of discussion about whether the NDIS rates in relation to mental health services are adequate for working with people with complex and diverse health and social needs. The NDIA Board is currently conducting an independent review of the pricing structure of the NDIS to decide if changes need to be made including for working with people with complex needs.

Will the Community Justice Program, which helps people with mental health conditions and intellectual disability, be one of the ADHC services that is moved into the NDIS?

MHCC understands that the funding for all ADHC programs, including the Community Justice Program, is in scope to move into the NDIS as part of NSW’s contribution. We do not know what this means in terms of the future of that important program. MHCC is one of many organisations advocating for greater clarity about continuity of support arrangements for this group of people.


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