Beyond Diagnosis: Understanding Psychosocial Disability and the NDIS

May 7, 2024

Take a moment to envisage what it would be like if you looked at life through a cracked lens. Colours are muted, the world feels distorted, and simple tasks become obscure and intricate puzzles. This is the reality for many Australians living with a psychosocial disability. But here's the key: a psychosocial disability is not the lens itself – it's the way it impacts your ability to navigate the world.

Psychosocial Disability – More Than a Diagnosis

Psychosocial disability is an umbrella term used to describe a disability that arises from a mental health condition. However, the diagnosis of a mental health condition alone doesn't mean a person is living with a psychosocial disability. Instead, it's the ongoing impact on your daily life and the complications that arise due to your mental health condition that constitute a psychosocial disability.

It’s easiest to think of it this way: anxiety might make public speaking a hurdle, but if you can still manage presentations with a bit of preparation, it wouldn't necessarily be considered a disability. If intense social anxiety makes even basic interactions overwhelming, hindering your ability to work or study, that's where the concept of psychosocial disability comes in.

Which Mental Health Conditions Can Become Psychosocial Disabilities?

Truthfully, any mental health condition has the potential to become a psychosocial disability. Some of the more frequent mental health conditions that can seriously affect people’s day-to-day lives include:

Depression: Severe and persistent depression can significantly impact daily functioning. Tasks like preparing meals or holding down a job can become overwhelming. Social interactions may become a source of exhaustion, leading to isolation, and reduced social participation. Even going for a quick coffee with a few friends or colleagues can feel like a mountain to climb.

Bipolar Disorder: The unpredictable mood swings characteristic of bipolar disorder can make it difficult to maintain stable employment, relationships, or living situations. During manic episodes, an individual might make reckless decisions with finances or engage in risky behaviour, impacting their overall well-being.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Severe OCD can lead to time-consuming rituals and intrusive thoughts that significantly interfere with daily life. It can be difficult to hold down employment or relationships when overwhelming compulsions take precedence over other areas of day-to-day life.

The NDIS – A Pathway to Empowerment

It’s important to note the above are only a few examples. Just as different mental health conditions affect people in a multitude of ways, so do psychosocial disabilities. Because of these nuances and its invisibility, many advocates believe psychosocial disabilities are deeply misunderstood and don’t get the recognition they deserve.

Thankfully the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) does recognise the distinction between living with a mental health condition and having a psychosocial disability.

The NDIS aims to give people living with disabilities, including those arising from mental health conditions, all the supports and tools needed to carve out a rewarding life.

Building Your Bridge

Imagine a wide valley with a bridge stretched across. You might have the mental capacity to reach the other side, but your psychosocial disability creates a gap. Even setting your foot on the first wobbly plank sends shivers down your spine. NDIS support strengthens the bridge and makes it sturdier, helping you overcome the limitations and achieve your goals.

NDIS supports can be incredibly diverse and tailored to your unique needs. They include:

  • Skills development: Do you have difficulty managing finances? NDIS funding could help you with budgeting workshops or support workers who can assist you with paying the bills on time. The aim is always to help you become self-sufficient.
  • Social connections: Are you feeling isolated? Funding might go towards programs that help build social skills or connect you with support groups. There are also heaps of fun activities and hobbies you can get involved with via the NDIS.
  • Employment assistance: Are you struggling to find work? NDIS could provide job coaching and resume writing advice so you can land that dream role. If you already have a job, the NDIS can even fund work place modifications to make your role more manageable.
  • Therapy and counselling: While not the sole focus, NDIS can also contribute to some forms of therapy or counselling, complementing the supports focused on living without limitations.

As this list of supports indicates, the NDIS doesn't just focus on fixing the lens – it provides all the different supports you need to see the world more clearly. The positive impact this can have on your everyday life simply can’t be emphasised enough.

How United for Care Can Help

Living with a psychosocial disability can be complicated, but you don't have to walk the path alone. United for Care's Supported Independent Living (SIL) empowers you to achieve greater independence.

Our experienced team will work with you to understand your unique goals. Next, we'll develop a tailored NDIS plan that includes the support you need to build the skills and confidence to live life to the maximum.

Imagine yourself crossing that bridge – United for Care will be there to provide the support that strengthens the structure, and we’ll even offer guidance along the way, but ultimately, you’ll conquer the journey yourself.

Ready to find out how we can help? Talk to one of our friendly experts and start your NDIS journey today:

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Call Us: 1300 405 260    

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