How the NDIS helped me find purpose
6 minute read

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.

For 12 years James’ life spiralled before support funded by the NDIS helped him get back on track.

The 45-year-old from Melbourne says he felt as though his life had no purpose, and he spent most of his time sitting outside smoking and drinking.

“I was in and out of psychosis and I couldn’t hold down work so I didn’t have much to do,” James said.

“I became addicted to substances as well, but because my anxiety wasn’t properly treated I had no structure in my life, which is one of the things I feel worst about. I just sat around drinking coffee and smoking – I had no motivation to do anything. If the NDIS had been around prior to that I think I would have got my life on track.”

In 2018 James, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), gained access to the NDIS.

His NDIS package addressed his needs in a holistic way. This included funding for supported accommodation, a support coordinator, two psychologists, an occupational therapist, a personal trainer, an exercise physiologist and a dietician. This combination of supports has helped James work toward and achieve his goals, and, most importantly, feel a sense of purpose in his life.

James improved his physical health through high intensity and weight training, he learned life skills to live independently away from his parents and he started creative writing. He also worked on connecting with community and building his personal relationships.

“When the NDIS is at its best it’s bloody amazing,” James said.

I’m feeling less anxious, I worry less and I’m less distracted by feelings of loneliness. Because I’m feeling positive, I’m in a position to pursue goals in other areas of my life.
- James

“I’m feeling less anxious, I worry less and I’m less distracted by feelings of loneliness. Because I’m feeling positive, I’m in a position to pursue goals in other areas of my life.”

James says one of the biggest benefits of accessing the NDIS has been the structure his appointments have provided him; they’ve made him accountable and they have got him up off the couch.

“The goals I’ve achieved with the NDIS have been great, but just having those appointments on is very good,” he said.

“If you struggle to hold down work like me then having things you have to get up for each day is half the battle. Having a full day each week with lots of stuff on is very different to how my life was pre-NDIS.

“When you’re just lying on the couch alone, I get sick. The NDIS keeps me busy and productive, and it has given me meaning and purpose in my life.

“The NDIS made me realise that I have strengths that I didn’t even realise I had. I can be productive and motivated, and that’s because of the NDIS and keeping a busy life through it.”

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. 
If you would like more information, please contact us.

1300 286 463 
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