In The Media | 29 March 2017

Fears life-saving mental health support at risk for thousands of Australians

Jane* has lived with severe depression and anxiety for the last 15 years outside a small town in rural Victoria.

For much of that time, she’s felt isolated and alone in her struggle with her mental illness.

“I’ve had several attempted suicides,” she said.

Jane has no doubt where she’d be if she wasn’t getting help through home visits and therapy.

“I wouldn’t be here. I’d be dead. I would be dead,” she said. “Having those social supports, as well as the professional support, is the reason why I’m here. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

She’s currently supported with an Individual Client Support Package paid for by the Victorian Government.

But that could all be about to change. As states transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), support programs which have helped people like Jane will no longer be funded.

And adding to her anxiety, Jane now has to wait to find out if she’ll be admitted to the NDIS. Even if she is, she’s not sure she’ll get the same level of care that she receives now.

Jane is not alone. An estimated 230,000 Australians receive support for a number of psychosocial illnesses, including bi-polar disorder, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

It’s estimated about one quarter of them will eventually be admitted to the NDIS.

Today mental health advocates are meeting MPs and key ministers during a parliamentary advocacy day in Canberra.

Their fears over a looming service gap in the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be front and centre.

Source: ABC News