Step 6

TIPS: For managing challenges in planning

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Check out this video: What barriers or challenges have you faced with the NDIS?

Because the NDIS is in its early stages and still building knowledge about mental health conditions and psychosocial disability, you may find some challenges when participating in NDIS planning. The National Disability Insurance Agency will work with you and others to keep improving the NDIS based on people’s experience and feedback.

The following are some possible NDIS planning challenges for people with mental health conditions and tips to manage them.

How long should it take for me to get my plan after being successful with my NDIS application?

Each plan is different so there is also no specific timeframe for the National Disability Insurance Agency to complete plans. If your plan requires more detail and complex support arrangements, it may take longer to get it properly organised. You also have to agree to the levels of support in your plan before it is signed off and put into action. This is why it is important to be prepared for the NDIS. If you have them, your current supports should continue until you transition to the NDIS.

I’m confused, anxious and stressed about planning processes

NDIS planning can be stressful for some people. It can also remind you of past experiences that were distressing to you. It is important to look after your health and wellbeing during NDIS processes.

To avoid getting a plan that you don’t believe meets your needs and having to go through the review process it is important to prepare as much as possible before you participate in your first NDIS planning process.

Some important things to remember are:

  • Be prepared. Gather all of the necessary information about what you need and the supports you want so you can explain in your planning process (for example use the reimagine.today workbook)
  • Take the time to think about your hopes, dreams, aspirations, goals and support needs that will help with the planning process (use the information gathered in your reimagine.today workbook)
  • Choose someone who can support you and/or be your advocate and assist you during the planning meeting and to debrief with afterwards if you need to
  • Speak up, ask questions and express your views and concerns
  • If you disagree with an NDIS planning decision you can ask for a review

How can I share my NDIS plan with people who support to me?

The only way that your NDIS plan can be shared with other people is for you to share it. You might think about giving copies of your plan to important people in your life including:

  • Your family and friends, especially those who support you day to day (your carers) or who support you when you aren’t able to manage on your own
  • Your GP and other health or mental health treatment and care providers
  • Organisations or people that you pay to provide NDIS services

Sharing your plan means that you are more likely to receive better coordinated health treatment and social support and that others will be able to work better to support you, but this is your choice and you have control.   You don’t have to share your plan with anyone who asks to see your plan.  You can chose who needs to know.

How can I get help quickly and when I need it?

Some of your funded NDIS services can be bundled and used flexibly. What this means is, if your circumstances change, including becoming unwell, and your support needs intensify, you can access more support without asking the National Disability Insurance Agency for a plan review.  You need to make sure your service providers are that you have bundled services and provide them with notice if you wish to change your supports to meet increased need (the amount of notice you need to give should be detailed in your service agreement).

This arrangement can be included in your plan. If you are self-managing your plan funding you will have even more choice and control over both how, and when, you can get services.

Will the NDIS fund supports for my family and friends who may need help to help me?

You can use your NDIS funding to purchase services that your carer, family and friends receive and that benefit you. Some examples of what you could include in your plan and use your funds to pay for include:

  • classes for your partner, children or parents to learn more about mental health conditions and psychosocial disability. This can also give them a chance to meet other family, friends and carers and get valuable  peer support
  • education about the NDIS and your plan
  • respite – this means you can spend time away from home in short-term accommodation, with support

I’m really finding this change overwhelming and wonder if it is worth it?

The NDIS us the biggest social reform since the introduction of Medicare over 30 years ago.  It will take some time for it to work well for people with mental health conditions. People with mental health conditions who access the NDIS benefit from increased levels of support. Increased support increases their health and well-being and this is why it’s worth it!

People now receiving state/territory funded disability support services may not notice their initial transition to the NDIS. Others, including Commonwealth funded mental health program clients and other people with mental health conditions, may find both applying for access and planning challenging. The Commonwealth mental health programs are:

  • Partners in Recovery (PIR)
  • Personal Helpers and Mentors Service (PHaMHS)
  • Day to Day Living (D2DL) program
  • Mental Health Carer: Respite Support (MHC:RS).

If you are feeling like participating in the NDIS is not worth it then speak about this with someone you trust. It may not be your choice just now or there may be extra help available to you to navigate the NDIS and other services available. It is important to stay hopeful and optimistic about the opportunity that is the NDIS and other mental health reforms.

I find it really hard to speak with new people and to have differences of opinion with people

Interacting with people that have, or that you believe have, more skills and power than you can be hard. This is especially true if others have treated you badly in the past. Examples of others treating you badly are bullying, harassment, abuse and neglect. It is not OK for these things to happen to you. If you are treated badly you might be fearful of speaking with people or be scared to have differences of opinion with people.

You need to know that if you are:

  • applying to access the NDIS then there is support available to help you.
  • eligible for NDIS funded supports then you could use your funds to get help in developing skills to develop your confidence, meet new people or resolve differences of opinion (this is sometimes called conflict resolution). Getting help means that these activities are included in you plan.
  • ineligible for the NDIS it is important to stay hopeful and optimistic about your recovery and seek out the help you need and want to support this.

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The reimagine.today workbook can help you prepare for the NDIS