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 he was supported to apply for the NDIS Julian was struggling to adapt to life in a new city.
The 23-year-old had just moved to Cairns, Queensland, when he encountered relationship conflicts, isolation and a decline in his physical and mental wellbeing.
“I was having incidents at home with mum and it put me in a dark place,” he said.
“It was hard to get up and do something with my day; I was ignoring phone calls from mum and others important to me. I wasn’t eating a balanced diet and I put on 45kg.”
A hospital admission led Julian, who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, to access support from Mind Australia and, eventually, the NDIS.
Julian said he initially wasn’t sure how the NDIS worked, and he was worried that it would take away from his Centrelink allowance.
“But my support worker from Mind explained the NDIS properly to me, and he showed me the support services that I would be able to access. I followed his advice and we had our first plan meeting, which was nerve-wracking because I still didn’t have a great understanding of what was happening.”
Initially, most of Julian’s NDIS package was for psychosocial supports. These are supports that help people with mental health and wellbeing challenges manage daily activities, rebuild and maintain connections, engage with education and employment, and participate fully in the community.
These supports enabled Julian access to support workers, peer workers with a lived experience of mental health challenges, fitness coaches, therapeutic group activities and a transport allowance, which allowed him to travel to and from the gym and visit his mother.
“My NDIS supports helped me with my social skills and to work toward achieving my life goals, like losing weight, finding work and getting back into the community. Those supports were set around the goals I set for myself,” Julian said.
“My support worker helped me join the Cairns Falcons Gridiron team, and to start volunteering at the Northern Pride Rugby League team, where I have served as vice-president for two years now. My support worker has also helped me with things like going to the movies, playing golf and powerlifting so I can build up my confidence and fitness.”
When Julian reflects on his recovery journey he is in awe of how much his health and wellbeing has improved, and how far he has come as a person.
“Before NDIS my life wasn’t in a good place – it didn’t have direction or purpose, and I wasn’t happy,” he said.
“With the NDIS I’ve branched out and found qualities about myself like loyalty, honour and respect, and I feel like I’m a better person. I’ve matured into a well-respected young man and become an integral part of my community.
“I used to be lonely, upset, grumpy and I didn’t enjoy life. The NDIS and Mind were able to get me moving, and my happiness has increased, my communication skills have improved and I have become more engaged with people.”
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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