Mental health conditions and the NDIS: Part 3
Mental health conditions and NDIS eligibility.
“Mental health condition” is a broad term that refers to symptoms that maybe caused by a range of things including life events and genetic factors. A mental health condition can be temporary or lifelong. It can include mood, anxiety, personality, psychotic and compulsive disorders.
Living with a mental health condition does not automatically make you eligible for the NDIS.
In addition to the regular eligibility requirements, you must show proof of evidence that:
- You have a mental health condition
- The mental health condition causes an impairment
- The impairment is permanent, and
- The impairment causes a disability which substantially reduces your ability to do everyday activities.
When a mental health condition causes an impairment.
In the NDIS, the terms mental health condition and impairment are related. A mental health condition may cause an impairment or loss of mental function – such as loss or damage to perception, memory, thinking and/or emotions.
Such an impairment is referred to as a “psychosocial disability” – one which arises from a mental health condition.
Not everyone who has a mental health condition will experience a psychosocial disability. For people who do, it can be severe and affect many aspects of their life. For example, they may have difficulties with everyday tasks and activities or need help to look after themselves.
If you have a mental health condition, you will need to provide evidence that it results in a permanent impairment that substantially affects your ability to do everyday activities.
As part of your Access Request, your psychologist, doctor, support worker or mental health nurse will need to complete an Evidence of Psychosocial Disability form.
This includes information such as:
- How long they have treated you
- Confirmation you have a mental health condition
- Information about any hospital admissions
- A description of any impairments against the six functional capacity life skills areas (see Functional capacity requirements)
- Confirmation of impairments that are likely to be permanent
- Medication, treatment and interventions trialled or underway
- Any clinical interventions
- An assessment of your life skills.
Most mental health professionals would have done this before so can help you collate all the information that is required. If you have been treated by several practitioners or moved around, you may need to source some additional documents yourself. Every case is reviewed individually based on the information provided.
Top tip: Whether access to the NDIS will be granted depends on a range of factors and how the disability affects you, not only the diagnosis of a specific condition.
Good days and bad days.
The nature of mental health conditions means you may have good days and bad days. The NDIS refers to this as “episodic”. Many NDIS participants experience episodic conditions.
You may still meet NDIS criteria if you have good days as well as bad days. They will consider how you function on good days, bad days and the days in between.
Who can help prepare an NDIS Access Request.
Many people with psychosocial disability are trying to navigate NDIS access on their own. With so much to take in, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
However, there are people who can help you to collate the information and submit your Access Request.
Mental health support services.
Your local mental health support services should be able to assist you to complete an NDIS Access Request and offer support through the application process. If not, contact the NDIA to connect you with a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) in your area.
Local Area Coordinator.
A Local Area Coordinator (LAC) can help you understand and access the NDIS. They can also connect you with other services and government agencies.
Psychologist, mental health nurse or social worker.
Your psychologist, mental health nurse or social worker may be able to assist with collating the information required to demonstrate eligibility. They can also complete the required functional assessments on the appropriate template to include with your Access Request.
The Leap in! app.
The free Leap in! app is designed to bring all your NDIS related information together. Create a profile, record your goals and reflect on your functional needs all in one handy location. Download from the App Store, Google Play or get the web app.