National Mental Health Sector November 2023 Communique

National Mental Health Sector Reference Group (NMHSRG) members met on 22 November 
2023 via videoconference. This was the NMHSRG’s third meeting for the year. 

The NMHSRG welcomed Mr Kurt Fearnley AO, National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)
Board Chair, to the meeting. 

NMHSRG Chairperson Ms Corri McKenzie, NDIA Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Service 
Design and Improvement, and Mr Fearnley opened the meeting by stating the importance of the 
voice of persons with disability.

Data and insights, psychosocial performance report Q4 2022- 2023

Mr David Gifford, NDIA Scheme Actuary, provided members with data and insights for NDIS 
participants with psychosocial disability over the final quarter of 2022-2023. 

Mr Gifford discussed:

  • Trends in the proportion of scheme participants with psychosocial disability who had their first plan approved in the six months to June 2023. 
  • Participants who identify as First Nation and/or culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) are reported as overrepresented in all scheme participants with a primary psychosocial disability. 
  • The hours accessed for recovery coaching per participant is increasing each year. 
  • More families and carers are reporting the NDIS has helped them with greater improvements of younger participants with primary psychosocial disability, aged 15-24. 
  • Family and carers of participants with primary psychosocial disability reporting a slight decline in employment outcomes, compared to an increase across the whole scheme.

NMHSRG Chair update

Ms McKenzie gave an update on the NDIA’s co-design work for the Reforms for Outcomes program and NDIS Psychosocial Disability Recovery-Oriented Framework (Recovery Framework).

This included how the NDIS Review and the Disability Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation for People with Disability (Royal Commission)  outcomes will influence work for the NMHSRG in 2024.

Ms McKenzie noted:

  • The NDIA has begun focusing on co-design and consultation and will continue this to implement actions arising from the NDIS Review. 
  • Current Agency work on the Reforms for Outcomes program focuses on improvements within current policy and legislation. The outcomes of the NDIS Review will build on this work. 

NMHSRG work and priorities for 2024

Dr Gerry Naughtin OAM, NDIA Strategic Advisor Psychosocial Disability and Mental Health, led a discussion about the NMHSRG work and priorities for 2024.

  • Further work to progress the implementation the Recovery Framework will be considered alongside the NDIS Review and Royal Commission recommendations.
  • The NMHSRG will focus on the outcomes of the NDIS Review and how the NMHSRG can contribute to reforms occurring outside the NDIS. This includes the Psychosocial  Project Group and the Better Access Initiative

Members discussed:

  • Optimism in the community the NDIS Review report may assist to improve supports for those with psychosocial disability.
  • The importance to consider the experience of persons and carers with psychosocial disability across the NDIS and using community and other government supports/services. 
  • Considering barriers for people with lived experience of psychosocial disability and the supports required to successfully engage a lived experience group.

Next meeting

The NMHSRG will next meet in March 2024.