For Mental Health Week 2023 members of Mind’s Lived Experience Advisory Team shared how NDIS supports have changed their lives for the better. These are psychosocial supports that help people to participate in the community, reach their personal goals, and improve mental health and wellbeing.
Before Clara accessed psychosocial support via the NDIS she was unable to leave the house.
“I was too petrified to step out the door. I wouldn’t go grocery shopping, nothing. I just couldn’t deal with it,” she said.
“Inside the house was my safe place. The trauma I had experienced previously in my life made the outside world scary, and I thought more bad things might happen.”
The 29-year-old from Maroochydore, Queensland has a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. She also has a lived experience of homelessness.
The NDIS has helped Clara overcome these challenges by connecting her with peer support workers, support coordinators, recovery coaches, occupational therapists, group-based mental health recovery programs and other services that have supported her day-to-day living.
Over time, these supports have given Clara the confidence and capacity to re-connect with her community, focus on her values and navigate life.
“The NDIS gave me a reason and purpose to leave the house because of my support workers. It challenged me every day to do things and helped me stay on track. The amount I can tackle every week now is unbelievable,” Clara said.
“Mental illness comes and goes; I was very stable a few months ago and then all hell broke loose and my world turned upside down. If I didn’t have the NDIS I would have been on the streets or in a hospital somewhere, because I would not have been able to cope with all the things life threw at me because mental illness is so unpredictable.”
Clara has received support from the NDIS for five years, and in that time she has completed a peer work cadetship with Mind, relocated to another state and she regularly shares her lived experience in an advisory capacity with Mind to ensure they (and the broader mental health system) are person-centred in everything they do.
“I have a lot more confidence now. If you had asked me to share my lived experience like this [in an interview] I would never have done it,” she said.
“My peer support workers have encouraged me and helped me through every step of my journey. They gave me hope for the future when I had no hope at all. They shared their lived experience with me and showed me that recovery is possible, which motivated me to eventually study peer work.”
Clara is now working toward getting her driver’s licence and returning to work – goals that were unthinkable five years ago.
“The NDIS has given me courage and taught me to try a lot of new things,” Clara said.
“I went from not being able to leave the house, to moving interstate with no supports, all because of the NDIS and my peer support worker. I don’t think I would have survived the last 12 months without the NDIS.”
To learn more about Mind Australia support services near you contact Mind Connect on 1300 286 463.
If this article raises concerns for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islanders can also call 13 YARN (13 92 76) a 24/7 national crisis support telephone service staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
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1300 286 463
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