Thanks for joining us in our Embark blogpost series, where we share some of our tips for supporting people to access the NDIS. Embark provides support to people with disability living 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]
Alleviating fears of accessing the NDIS & the importance of choice and control
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a valuable resource for people with psychosocial disabilities, but it can be a daunting process to navigate unsupported. It is important to approach discussing the benefits of the NDIS with someone with a psychosocial disability through a trauma-informed lens. In this blog post, we will explore how to explain the benefits of the NDIS in a safe, effective, and most importantly, comfortable manner!
Creating a safe space and attempting to build trust is the first step in discussing the NDIS with someone with a psychosocial disability. This can be achieved by creating a safe and non-judgmental space where the person feels comfortable with sharing their experiences and needs. Listen actively and demonstrate empathy and understanding. Show respect for the person’s experiences and perspective. It’s essential to let the person know that they have control over the services that they receive and that their privacy will be respected. It is also worth asking the participant if they prefer that you speak with someone else who knows them and/or their needs before asking for more information. Its super important to outline that the NDIS is unfortunately a very deficit-based conversation throughout a lot of the phases, and that you understand if they do not wish to disclose this with you directly and would prefer that you speak with someone else.
Before discussing the NDIS, it’s important to understand the person’s needs. Psychosocial disabilities are complex, and everyone’s experience is always going to be unique. Take a person-centred approach by asking open-ended questions to encourage the person to share their experiences and needs. Listen carefully to what they say and show that you can understand their perspective. By doing so, you will begin to piece together how this person can be supported by the NDIS, and what services and supports will be beneficial for them specifically.
Explaining the Benefits of the NDIS
Once you have established trust and understand the person’s needs, you can begin to explain the benefits of the NDIS. Now, there are several services and supports that the NDIS can provide for individuals living with a psychosocial disability, but what we believe are the most effective services and supports are below –
- Social and community participation – The NDIS will fund services and supports for individuals to increase social and community participation within their communities – So, what does that mean?
- The NDIS can fund services and supports in the form of support workers that are able to assist you in accessing your community. This could be through classes, joining a local club, or attending other community events.
- The NDIS can fund services and supports that will serve assistance with developing social skills. These may include therapy from multiple practitioners, training, and other health care assessments.
- The NDIS can fund services and supports in the form of transport funding. This funding will go directly into the participants bank account to enable them to travel to attend community activities, community events, as well as support workers to support and attend with them.
- In home living and support/daily supports – The NDIS can fund services and supports for individuals to assist them with in home living and support – So, what does that mean?
- The NDIS can fund services and supports to assist and help build the capacity of participants by assisting them with everyday domestic duties, and activities of daily living. These can be anything from personal care, cooking and cleaning, shopping, gardening, paying bills – Most things that we all must do in our day-to-day life!
- The NDIS can fund services in the form of assistive technologies. Assistive technologies refer to the actual ‘product’ that someone will require to assist them in daily living, and around the home. For example, if someone is living with a psychosocial disability, though also has co-morbid medical health conditions that restricts them physically, the NDIS can provide things such as guard rails, steps, hearing aids, even noise cancelling headphones! While assistive technologies may be more difficult to fund initially when gaining access to the NDIS, they are obtainable if we have the right evidence! (Please see our Embark ‘’requesting support medical evidence” for further information)
- Support coordination / Recovery coaching
- Support coordination/recovery coaching is an absolute must have in every participant’s first plan when jumping on board the NDIS – After all, the access phase is quite tricky to navigate unsupported, and similarly the phase once on the NDIS can be quite overwhelming too – However, support coordinators and recovery coaches are able to work with you and the participant to find out what supports and services work the best! A support coordinator is what I like to refer to as the ‘NDIS Guru’. They will work with you to connect you to services and supports that you enjoy, and ones that you think will be beneficial for your daily living. They’ll support you throughout your plan, and make sure that you remain in choice and control throughout your NDIS journey.
Of course, there are several more services and supports that the NDIS can offer individuals living with a psychosocial disability. As previously mentioned, not everyone’s support style and needs are going to be the same. However, we here at Embark have noticed that the above three options of supports can be the most powerful in assisting people to live their life to the fullest!
While all the above sounds great, it is always worth reminding the participant that once accepted on the NDIS They have all the choice and control of what supports they wish to access. This means that in no way, shape, or form are they locked into some sort of support service, program, or anything that they are choosing not to attend. The NDIS puts choice and control squarely in the hands of people living with a disability.
Addressing concerns and fears
Individuals living with psychosocial disabilities (and without!) may have concerns or fears about accessing support services. It’s important to address these concerns in a sensitive and compassionate support style. Validate concerns and provide accurate information to alleviate any fears they may have. It’s essential to let the person know that they have choice & control over the services they receive and that their privacy will always be respected.
- See our ‘News and resources’ section here – https://icla.org.au/embark/access/
- Support for GPs and other health professionals – https://www.ndis.gov.au/applying-access-ndis/how-apply/information-gps-and-health-professionals
- Supporting evidence for psychosocial disability – https://reimagine.today/apply-for-ndis-support/providing-supporting-evidence/
- Get support from a Local Area Coordinator – https://www.ndis.gov.au/understanding/what-ndis/whos-rolling-out-ndis/lac-partners-community
Thanks again for joining us. Please be in touch with any questions or suggested topics for future content via firstname.lastname@example.org.