In an article in The Australian, Patrick McGorry, former Australian of the Year, and Director of the Orygen Naional Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health said, 'The last-minute decision to include mental health support in the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme was a costly, dangerous mistake that should be unwound before lasting damage is done.' He went on to say that 'the biggest issue here is that the state governments have already dismantled the community mental health system, the clinical system with doctors and support. All that is left now is emergency rooms and acute care, the system is collapsing at a state level. People think we are having an NDIS instead of a mental health system'.
McGorry continued to make these points in an interview on Radio National Breakfast.
Radio National’s introduction to the interview cited the beyondblue submission to the Joint Standing Committee inquiry on psychosocial disabilty and the NDIS. beyondblue’s submission made the point that while it supports the scheme it fears some mentally ill may be worse off under the NDIS.
Frank Quinlan CEO of Mental Health Australia provided a timely reminder that the key reason the Productivity Commission was convinced to include psychosocial disability within the scope of the NDIS was because of the advocacy of people with lived experience of mental health issues and psychosocial disability. He reflects that much of the confusion and difficulty since, has arisen because too many have assumed this means moving the mental health system completely into the NDIS. He concludes that 'the solution lies in making both systems work, and it would be a mistake to choose one or the other'.
An ABC News article provided further examples of people living with a mental illness may lose critical supports as services transition to the NDIS. Action is needed to ensure people living with mental illness who are not eligible for the NDIS are able to access the psychosocial support they need in the community. Fears mental health support will disappear with NDIS rollout.
Mental Health Carers Australia's CEO, Jenny Branton, expressed her concern to The Canberra Times that the change could leave some people with mental health illnesses without case workers and their carers without support to have regular respite from the challenging work.