Federal Budget impacts for mental health and disability

The Turnbull Government will guarantee the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is fully funded by legislating an additional 0.5 percentage point increase in the Medicare Levy from 1 July 2019. At full scheme, the NDIS will support about 460,000 people at an annual cost of approximately $21 billion. Read more about social services Federal Budget measures from the office of The Hon Christian Porter MP, Minister for Social Services.

The Turnbull Government is building on its mental health reforms by delivering another boost of more than $170 million for mental health support, treatment and research. Read the media release from The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health.

Depression the lead cause of ill health

Depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Rates of depression have risen by more than 18 per cent since 2005, with 300 million people estimated to suffer from the condition. To tackle the stigma and misconceptions about the mental illness, WHO is running a campaign call ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’.

International participants are needed for research into people who have experience with depression. Mental Health First Aid Australia and the University of Melbourne are conducting the research. 

Community consultations on suicide prevention framework

Suicide Prevention Australia is undertaking a round of community consultations on a national strategic framework for suicide prevention. The Federal Government has committed to the development of a national suicide prevention plan, and the strategic framework is an opportunity for the NGO community voice to contribute to the development of the final plan. See the online survey here.

National Disability Insurance Scheme

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released the NDIS Quarterly Report, covering the period from 1 January to 31 March 2017. It shows the total number of people who had received support from the NDIS at the end of the quarter was 78,006. 

Australia’s peak body for disability service providers, National Disability Services, has released a paper ‘How to get the NDIS on track’, which details recommendations on the way forward for the NDIS. The paper commends the NDIS as the right reform for Australia but warns that the scale and complexity of implementation is placing great pressure on stakeholders, including service providers. Read more.

An article in The Conversation presents a well-balanced view about the large expectations around the launch of the NDIS and the realities of implementation, indicating “change doesn’t come quickly and we need to be patient.” 

The NDIA is currently undertaking its annual review of price controls for services and supports. This review aims to ensure that price controls are appropriate and continue to deliver value to participants as the Scheme grows. A summary of key points, compiled by VICSERV, can be accessed here.

Pre-planning for the NDIS is vital to ensure you know exactly what you want and need before you have a support plan tailored to suit you. Here are five tips to get ready for the NDIS.

Both Tandem (the peak body representing mental health carers in Victoria) and the Mental Health Carers NSW (MHCN) have released resources to assist carers and their loved ones in the NDIS planning process. Tandem has a tip sheet and MHCN have an NDIS Carer Statement Template.

Advancing the rights of people with disability

Between 2016 and March 2017, Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alastair McEwin sought input from the disability community on how he can most effectively work to advance the rights of people with a disability. The findings can be reviewed here.

Watch: Prime Minister’s Address at 2017 Parliamentary Advocacy Day

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP’s opening address at the 2017 Parliamentary Advocacy Day outlines a range of ways the Australian Government is working to achieve effective mental health reform. Watch the video here.

National Mental Health Commission’s 2016 National Report

The National Mental Health Commission has recently released its annual report on mental health and suicide prevention, which includes people’s experiences of what affects their lives and how a mental health system can respond more effectively.