Mental health conditions and the NDIS: Part 5


The concept of “recovery”.


The word “recovery” comes up a lot when talking about mental health and the NDIS which can make it a bit hard to understand.


The NDIS defines recovery as:

“…achieving an optimal state of personal, social and emotional wellbeing, as defined by each individual, whilst living with, or recovering from a mental health condition.”

In everyday communication, we often use the word “recover” to mean “get better”. And so, it might seem like recovery is at odds with the idea of permanent impairment.

However, when it comes to mental health conditions, recovery is about living the best possible life for you, even if you continue to experience symptoms of a mental health condition.


Clinical recovery and personal recovery are different:

  • Clinical recovery means you have fewer or no symptoms, which means you are unlikely to be eligible for the NDIS.(1)
  • Personal recovery will be different for each individual but is about living a meaningful life. It may mean having more good days than bad days. It also may be managing the condition well with the supports you receive.(2)


Older woman wearing glasses standing in front of a shelf full of stand up paddle boards


Important points about recovery:

  • Treatment and/or interventions must have been explored enough to confirm that clinical recovery is unlikely, so treatment is focused on personal recovery
  • If your doctor is unsure whether current treatments will result in clinical recovery, the condition cannot be considered permanent and you will not be eligible for the NDIS
  • The amount of NDIS funding you receive may change as your recovery improves.



[1] NDIS Mental Health Access Snapshot Series, Snapshot 3: Recovery and the NDIS.

[2] Healthtalk Australia, Personal Recovery

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