Mental Health And NDIS Roundtable - May 2014

A Roundtable was convened by Mental Health Victoria, in conjunction with National Disability Services (NDS), bringing together key stakeholders concerned about the issues impacting mental health services and consumers in the roll out of NDIS in the Barwon launch site.

Participants included:

  • CEOs and senior managers of mental health services in Barwon
  • Mental Health Carers Network and Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council
  • Mental Health Council of Australia
  • NDIA Barwon senior staff
  • NDIA Central Office staff
  • DSS Mental Health Branch staff
  • Department of Health Victoria Regional and Central Offices, and senior staff
  • The objectives of the forum were to enable participants to
  • be informed by a range of perspectives on the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS);
  • consider the range of issues for services and for people with mental health issues under the NDIS;
  • workshop ideas and actions that could be implemented to address these issues; and
  • contribute to recommendations for NDIS, government, peak bodies and service providers to inform development work.


A number of brief presentations were made, including:

  • Kim Koop, CEO Mental Health Victoria
  • Frank Quinlan, CEO, Mental Health Council of Australia
  • Elizabeth Crowther, President Mental Health Victoria and CEO, MIF Victoria provided an overview of the key issues identified by mental health services in Barwon, which provided the basis for the discussions at the Roundtable.

Additional comments in response to the issues included:

Philip Dunn, Deputy CEO, Pathways – who identified a number of immediate issues for service providers including:

  • Issues around scale and pace require an immediate response;
  • Concern that short term solutions that have an impact on people in the Barwon trial;
  • The need to allow adequate time for planning (200 people to assess takes approx. 4-5 hours per person) and the impact on agencies with the work required (unpack plan with participant, review planning assessment, inform families); and
  • Conflict between funding and client transition timeframes.


Kevin Freele, EO Mental Health & Drug & Alcohol Services, Barwon Health, identified the following issues in relation to the impacts on the broader health system and continuum of care:

  • Continuity of services for 'ineligible' people with mental illness (a diagnosis may not always exist);
  • Continuity of care across multiple service providers (who may/may not be known to each other) for the person with a disability;
  • Increased fragmentation of care relying on participants to provide links to and between service providers – a need to share data (service providers, NDIA, pubic system); and
  • The opportunities for collaborative research.


Toni Van Hammond, Senior Local Area Coordinator, Barwon Launch site, NDIA – provided an overview of the issues for the Agency in the phasing of PDRSS clients to the NDIS.

Discussion and Developing Responses
The focus of the forum was on the opportunity to discuss the issues that have emerged for mental health services and consumers, and to identify solutions and opportunities for collaborative responses.


Small groups discussions focussed on 4 potential areas for addressing the issues identified:

1. Working Collaboratively

What can be done to:

  • Achieve agreement on working together
  • Develop better relationships in the new environment
  • Develop better understanding of roles and expertise of NDIA planners and service providers
  • Better engage consumers in the working relationship

2. Planning processes

What can be done to:

  • Provide a better experience for people with mental illness in the planning process
  • Enable the expertise of mental health workers/providers to contribute to the process
  • Clarify what is an appropriate planning process for people with mental illness
  • Include the consumer and carer voice in the development of planning processes

3. Review Pricing and Clusters

What can be done to:

  • Consider the components of support for people with mental illness
  • Develop appropriate clusters and prices to meet needs of people with mental illness
  • Accommodate skills and qualifications of mental health workers
  • Identify burden of cost on services and develop proposals for addressing these

4. Monitor, support and and provide narrative on implementation of NDIS

What can be done to:

  • Provide a mental health perspective on the Barwon launch site implementation and processes
  • Gather data on the impact of NDIS on consumers and services
  • Develop collaborative responses to issues regarding support for people with mental illness
  • Identify learnings and effectiveness
  • Engage consumers and carers in the narrative process


A Report on the Roundtable is available here.