NTMHC responds to NDIS Review

Community mental health is the answer: NTMHC response to the NDIS Review

For the past two years in partnership with other state and Territory peaks, the NT Mental Health Coalition has been advocating at a Territory and national level for the funding of psychosocial supports to meet the needs of Australians currently ineligible for the NDIS. The NT Mental Health Coalition welcomes the NDIS Review Report released last week, that makes clear recommendations to fund recovery-oriented supports to meet the episodic needs of Australians with psychosocial disability. In March 2024, the Commonwealth will release their analysis of unmet needs for psychosocial supports. We will be following this report closely as it will estimate the number of Australians with severe and complex mental ill health currently not receiving adequate supports through the NDIS or the commonwealth psychosocial supports program. 

Recommendations made by the NT Mental Health Coalition and other peak bodies in the NT have been heard by the NDIS Review panel who conducted multiple visits to the NT. 

We welcome the work of National Cabinet in agreeing to jointly fund and design Foundational Supports. Our members including Community Mental Health and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, are currently delivering psychosocial supports across the NT, including in remote areas. 

Community mental health organisations have knowledge and expertise of delivering best practice, culturally safe, recovery-oriented supports in partnership with local communities and we are perfectly positioned to have a key role in the implementation of the recommendations. We will continue our advocacy to ensure the service design of foundational and psychosocial supports increases access for Territorians, and that we have a skilled workforce to provide recovery oriented, trauma informed and culturally safe supports. 

You can read further details on the key issues and actions by following the links below. The NT Mental Health Coalition is a member of Mental Health Australia and Community Mental Health Australia who have also published their responses.

Recommendation 7 describes a new approach to NDIS supports for psychosocial disability to ensure a focus on recovery. Participants would enter through a specialised early intervention stream and transition to lifetime supports if and when appropriate. Foundational supports within mainstream services such as childcare, school and health settings will support this pathway. Eligibility will be based on function, not diagnosis. 

Recommendation 14 describes improving access to supports for First Nations participants and participants in remote communities, including alternative commissioning arrangements.  

The successful implementation of the recommendations is dependent on embedding engagement with people with lived experience, their families and the sector. The NDIA have stressed that the agency will take time to consider the recommendations before making any changes. The NT Mental Health Coalition urges the NDIA to act swiftly on the many recommendations the sector have been making since the initial roll out of the scheme. As the reports itself describes, the delay in supports creates high levels of stress and anxiety that results in avoidable severe psychosocial disabilities, with long term impacts. 

Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition

NTMHC is the peak body for community managed mental health services across the Northern Territory. We work in collaboration with a wide network of organisations, people with lived experience, their families and supporters across the NT to advocate to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Territorians.

Please include the following crisis support services for any story regarding mental health or suicide: 

Lifeline: 13 11 14  www.lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467  www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
beyondblue: 1300 22 4636  www.beyondblue.org.au

More information on safely reporting on mental illness or suicide can be found at: https://mindframe.org.au/


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