Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

NDIS and psychosocial disability support

  • Share
NDIS and psychosocial disability support

A statement from SANE CEO Rachel Green regarding suggested changes to NDIS funding of psychosocial support services.

SANE is concerned to see recent news reports claiming significant cuts will be made to the NDIS to reduce access for Australians living with psychosocial disability.

We know there are already serious gaps in the availability of psychosocial support in Australia. Disability support generally is enormously difficult to access, and this is particularly the case for non-physical disabilities. The Productivity Commission report into mental health estimated there to be at least 154,000 Australians missing out on this critical assistance back in 2020. Recent state-based reviews, such as this one from South Australia, have reinforced the enormous unmet need.

And there are likely to be many, many more as the estimates provided in these reports are based on decades old data as the redesign of the national survey of mental health and wellbeing excluded those living with conditions like schizophrenia, OCD and personality disorders.

For people with a lifelong psychosocial disability, access to the NDIS can be life changing. With psychosocial support, people impacted by significant or complex mental health can lead productive, meaningful and contributing lives. The fight to be included in the scheme when it was established was a significant win for equity and human rights.

So, it is unclear why this group are being targeted particularly for reductions from the scheme, before we have had sufficient opportunity as a community with diverse perspectives on possible solutions to be properly counted or involved. We would be very concerned if disabilities involving mental health are treated differently to physical or sensory disabilities.

It seems premature to be talking of targeting reductions, before we have any information on what the alternative is. It’s not surprising that those relying on psychosocial support and their families who support them are worried.

We know that the NDIS has not worked entirely the way it was meant to. It is clear that reform is needed. However, removing future access for a vulnerable group of people without first designing the alternative is not the right way forward; and there are critical design aspects of the NDIS – such as a long term guarantee of support and choice and control over the type of support that could be powerfully designed in a model for earlier intervention.

SANE strongly urges the Australian Government to listen carefully to those with lived experience and bring them into any discussions involving redesign of services, and it’s important that any discussion of these issues reminds everyone that people with complex mental illnesses and psychosocial disability are, first and foremost, the loved sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and parents in our community.

We are always interested in being part of innovation and ensuring that the voices of lived experience are being heard and we’d welcome Minister Shorten to come and meet with representatives from across the lived experience community to understand the importance of effective psychosocial support and equity and inclusion.

Last updated: 24 October 2023

Stay in touch

Never miss an important update from SANE.

Please let us know your first name.
Please let us know your last name.
Please let us know your email address.

Please select at least one newsletter