People with a mental illness must demonstrate a psychosocial disability to be eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), however a recent survey has revealed most respondents do not know what that means.
The annual survey was conducted by the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network.
Terri Warner, chair of the network, told 666 ABC Canberra a psychosocial disability related to the way a person with a mental illness was able to interact with the world — something that could vary widely from person to person.
"You may have a person with a generalised anxiety disorder who is able to work full-time, interact socially and have relationships with their friends and the community, and you can have someone with the same diagnosis who cannot leave their house," she said.
"So the person in that first example would not have a psychosocial disability, but the person in the second example certainly would."
Support to access scheme
The survey results come amid reports that funding for networks that support and employ people with mental health-related disabilities was being redirected to the NDIS.
The ACT Mental Illness Fellowship has been forced to close two of its cafes that trained and employed people with a mental illness after funding cuts.
Thirteen participants who were effectively contracted employees under the fellowship program will be out of work in the coming months.
Spokesperson Laura Collister said the fellowship would help those employees access the NDIS and would redevelop their services ongoing to adapt to the funding changes.
"We do know that the evidence says the best support we can give somebody is intensive support to help them get a real job in the community and we are trying to re-engineer our program to deliver that," she said.
"But we're dependent upon the individual packages that individuals get through the NDIA."
A spokesperson for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) said that by December last year, 1,681 people with a primary psychosocial disability were receiving support from the scheme and a further 751 with a secondary mental health condition.
Read more at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-18/ndis-confuses-applicants-with-psychosocial-definition/7334114