Here at Leap in! HQ we’re being asked many questions about the NDIS and psychology. There is a lot of confusion around what the NDIS funds and what it doesn’t.
With so many people experiencing mental health conditions as a result of the pandemic, it’s important to understand how the NDIS works when it comes to getting support from a psychologist.
Today, we explore some frequently asked questions and provide useful links for anyone who needs mental health support not covered by the NDIS.
Will the NDIS fund psychology?
Psychologists can be an important source of mental health support for people with a disability. But the NDIS can only fund psychology under certain circumstances.
The NDIS may fund non-clinical mental health supports where there is a reasonable and necessary need.
The NDIS will only fund mental health supports that:
Are not clinical in nature
Relate to an ongoing psychosocial disability (a disability arising from a mental health condition)
Focus on building functional capacity and independence.
What is the difference between clinical and non-clinical mental health supports?
The difference between the two is key to determining whether the NDIS will fund psychology for you.
The NDIS does not fund clinical treatments from a psychologist or other mental health professional.
Examples of clinical treatments include:
Treatment to address symptoms
Continuing mental health care in the community
Early intervention supports related to mental health treatment including for child or adolescent development needs
Residential care where the main purpose is inpatient treatment or clinical rehabilitation
Supports relating to other conditions alongside a mental health condition such as treatment for drug or alcohol dependency.
These treatments are the responsibility of the health system and the NDIS does not pay for treatments or supports provided by other agencies.
The NDIS may fund non-clinical treatments from a psychologist or other mental health professional to support participants with a psychosocial disability.
Examples of non-clinical treatments include:
Coaching to help you improve motivation, focus, knowledge and skills, resilience and decision making so you can be more independent with day-to-day activities
Assistance to help you work with other mental health supports and services by ensuring the supports you receive outside of the NDIS help you achieve your recovery goals
Support to connect positively with family, friends and others.
An easy way to think about it is:
NDIS = capacity building mental health supports
Mainstream system = mental health treatment.
I’ve been told the NDIS does not fund psychology anymore and that I need a mental health care/treatment plan instead. Is this correct?
No. The NDIS may fund psychology if the treatment is of a non-clinical nature as outlined above. If you have a psychosocial disability and require functional or capacity building psychology support, you may be able to fund it with your NDIS Plan.
However, treatment for mental health conditions including depression and anxiety is provided by the mainstream health service which may include obtaining a Mental Health Treatment Plan.
What is a Mental Health Treatment Plan?
A Mental Health Treatment Plan is a care plan that your doctor creates to help manage a mental health condition. It was previously called a Mental Health Care Plan. A Mental Health Treatment Plan provides a Medicare rebate for up to 20 individual psychologist appointments. After the first six appointments, you’ll need to see your doctor for review.
Can I get a Mental Health Treatment Plan and the NDIS?
Yes. It is possible to receive both at the same time because they support different outcomes.
Examples from the NDIS.
Emilia has a mental health condition that has led to a psychosocial disability. She feels her condition is getting worse. She asks the NDIS to fund clinical treatment from a psychologist to supplement her Mental Health Treatment Plan.
Would the NDIS fund it?
No. The NDIS does not fund clinical treatment to address mental health symptoms. The health system is responsible for clinical mental health supports.
Roxanne has lived with a psychiatric condition for several years. Her mental health has a big impact on her life and she has an NDIS Plan to help her with her psychosocial disability supports.
Roxanne wants to improve her independence and asks the NDIS for funding for Capacity Building supports. The supports are to help her learn how to do day-to-day activities such as paying her bills and cooking her meals. Roxanne’s need for support will reduce over time as she builds her independence.
Would the NDIS fund it?
Yes because the NDIS funds Capacity Building, Community and Civic Participation supports if they relate to your disability, help improve your independence and allow you to undertake daily tasks. The supports requested are not clinical in nature and relate to functional capacity and independence.
For more examples, check out the NDIS page on mental health supports, Would we fund it?
Where to get help if you’re not eligible for NDIS mental health support.
Check out the free Leap in! ebook Mental health conditions and the NDIS: A guide to access and supports
Our previous story Looking after your mental health is a priority contains some helpful resources and contacts
Connect with providers today!
Did you know that Leap in! can help you connect with providers near you, matched to the budgets available in your NDIS Plan? Learn more about Providers Near You or take a look at our Provider Network Directory.