Thanks for joining us in our Embark blogpost series, where we address some of our tips for supporting people with accessing the NDIS. Embark provides support to people in the Sydney Metropolitan area that are living with a mental health condition and experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness, to access the NDIS. [You can make a referral to our free service via: www.icla.org.au/embark/]
You can also get in touch for support – via Embark Upskill, we facilitate free workshops across NSW, open to anyone who wants to improve their confidence and understanding of the NDIS in order to support people with a mental illness to access the NDIS and obtain the supports they need. [Make an enquiry via: www.icla.org.au/embark/upskill]
Accessing the NDIS with a mental health condition?
Many people in the community are still not aware that you can access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) based on a complex mental health condition, or ‘psychosocial disability’.
What is a ‘psychosocial disability’?
For accessing the NDIS, a psychosocial disability is when a person living with a mental health condition experiences a substantially reduced functional capacity across key areas of their life, which prevents them from participating socially and economically in the community.
Not everyone who lives with a mental health condition will have a psychosocial disability, some people do not realise that their experience of life could be a psychosocial disability, and others don’t identify with it, as it may not fit with their personal idea of mental health and recovery.
However, getting NDIS support for a psychosocial disability may make a big difference in a person’s life, for reaching their recovery and other goals, for having a safe and comfortable home, and for getting to take part in the community again.
What about mental health recovery?
While the NDIS is about lifelong supports, it still aims to support people with psychosocial disability with their recovery. Recovery doesn’t have to be about a ‘cure’, it is a personal journey, that can be about living a life of personal, social and emotional wellbeing, whilst managing a mental health condition. The NDIA continues to work to improve on providing recovery-oriented services, and has recently developed a ‘Psychosocial Disability Recovery-Oriented Framework’ to be more responsive to participants living with psychosocial disability, their families and carers.
What supports can someone with psychosocial disability get from the NDIS?
This video shares real people’s experiences of what supports they get from the NDIS for their psychosocial disability:
(This video was produced by the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) of NSW).
So, the NDIS can help people get all sorts of supports needed to achieve their goals! There are a lot of options, but examples include supports like:
- A Recovery Coach or Support Coordinator, to support with understanding and choosing other NDIS supports, pursuing goals and/or making a recovery plan
- Managing a place to live, such as with support finding a new place
- Support with daily living, like caring for a home (e.g. cleaning, gardening) or caring for oneself (e.g. prompts for showering, healthy eating)
- Building social connections or strengthening relationships with family or friends
- Learning and education, like support starting a course or finding a job
- Being involved in the community, like help with finding and joining local activities.
Tips for supporting someone with a mental health condition to apply for the NDIS?
If you want to start with the basics, check out our previous blog on Applying for the NDIS to explore what to include in an NDIS application.
Once you’re familiar with those basics, here are some tips for gathering further evidence of psychosocial disability:
- Gathering further evidence can be challenging, so ideally you’ll do this on behalf of the person (with their consent)
- Open up discussion with the participant and their support network to identify whether or not medical evidence exists to support their NDIS application – ask about any hospitals or treating professionals they’ve connected with, to then request and gain any reports or discharge summaries that might be available
- If little or no supporting evidence is available a support letter from your organisation may be helpful, also think about supporting letters from the person themselves, or their other support workers, case managers, guardians, friends, family members, etc.
Filling out the Evidence of Psychosocial Disability (EoPD) Form?
This is the main form we at the Embark team use when completing an NDIS application for someone living with a mental health condition. It’s a very user-friendly form that easily captures all the relevant evidence you need to support someone’s application.
- This form comes in 2 parts – fill out the whole form in detail, and then get it reviewed and signed off in Part A by a treating Psychiatrist, or their GP or Clinical Psychologist
- Be sure to select (as applicable to each person):
- Yes – that they have a mental health condition
- No – that there are no available treatments that will remedy the impairments, and
- Yes – the condition is likely to be permanent.
- You need to demonstrate that all appropriate and available treatments that may remedy the condition have been trialed:
- Detail as many treatments trialed as possible (when, and how effective they were)
- Cover all treatment types – clinical, therapeutic, pharmaceutical, alternative or natural medicines and remedies, both current and previous
- Be specific about when treatment was explored (began and ceased), the effectiveness of the treatment
- If treatments exist that are inappropriate or not expected to work, share this in the comments – including when therapies are inaccessible due to the complexity or symptoms of the person’s disability.
- In Part B of the EoPD you will need to fill out an LSP-16, which is a simple scale about how the person presents (and there’s a link on the form to completing the training for the LSP-16)
- On the EoPD and supporting documents, outline how the person is unable or significantly impaired in their ability to do things in relation to their social interaction, self-management, self-care, communication, learning and mobility.
- Many clinicians may not be familiar with the NDIS, so they may not be clear on what is required in these forms. That’s why it’s helpful to fill it out as much as possible for them, or if needed, book a long appointment with them so they have enough time to complete the form with the participant.
There you have it, some of our basic tips around mental health and applying for the NDIS! See below further resources to explore, as well as our contact details to get in touch with any questions.
- NDIS information and resources – https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/how-ndis-works/mental-health-and-ndis
- Our Embark resources, available via – https://icla.org.au/embark/access/
- Reimagine.today – resources made by and for people with mental health conditions, about the NDIS https://reimagine.today/apply-for-ndis-support/access-request-form-and-supporting-evidence-form/
- NEW Psychosocial Recovery Framework – https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/how-ndis-works/mental-health-and-ndis#new-psychosocial-recovery-oriented-framework
Thanks again for joining us. Please be in touch with any questions or suggested topics for future content via firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICLA’s Embark program is funded by the NSW Ministry of Health to support people with a mental health condition who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness to access the NDIS.