Psychosocial Disability Associated with Mental Health Conditions

12 March 2020

Psychosocial disability can exacerbate mental health conditions, cause social isolation and economic marginalisation.  This in turn can spiral into crisis.  Crisis can lead to homelessness, poverty and potential exposure to exploitation. This may also cause extreme hardship for mental health consumers, families and carers, placing an unfair burden on some of the most vulnerable members of Australian society. A further consequence is the additional economic burden on society through the need for crisis intervention and health care supports.  If provided earlier, appropriate support services could prevent this.

Psychosocial Disability and the NDIS

The inclusion of psychosocial disability in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a significant development in providing support to assist people to live in the community. The NDIS is intended to make life easier for people with disability, including psychosocial disability, by providing self-directed support through recovery-oriented individualised plans.

However, issues remain about the best way to support people with psychosocial disability.

The NMHCCF raises the following important concerns:

  • Generic disability support services and many mainstream community services do not have the skills and knowledge to meet the support needs of people with psychosocial disability. Even within the NDIS planning process, assessments can often fail to understand aspects of psychosocial disability and thus plans can be poorly targeted in identifying support needs.
  • Plans are often not flexible enough to account for the fluctuating needs of people with psychosocial disability. Despite recent reforms flexibility should be enshrined into legislation, with the default position that participants will have full flexibility in implementing their plan.

While the NDIA has been working on continuous improvements to support people with psychosocial disability in the years since the roll out, there is still work to be done and problems remain.

The NMHCCF has recently reviewed and updated its position statement in relation to psychosocial disability associated with mental health conditions.  It outlines the NMHCCF recommendations to improve provision of NDIS Plans for people with psychosocial disability.

Read the full position statement now: Unravelling Psychosocial Disability - Position Statement on Psychosocial Disability Associated with Mental Health Conditions