Fewer people with mental health conditions are transitioning to the NDIS than expected


16th April 2019

A team from Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA) and the University of Sydney have today released alarming findings about the adequacy of support that will be available for people living with serious mental illness outside of the NDIS when three Commonwealth funded mental health programs cease in 2020.

The report shows that 50% of people currently utilising the Partners in Recovery (PIR), Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) and Support for Day to Day Living (D2DL) national programs have not yet applied for the NDIS. More worryingly, only half of those who have applied have so far been deemed eligible to enter the NDIS. Of those who have applied and not been successful, half have been rejected and half are still waiting. 

Jacklyn Whybrow, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Alliance for Mental Health (QAMH) says, ‘It is positive that the Commonwealth has extended some level of funding to assist with the support of people accessing services to transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

However, during the next 12 months, NDIS needs to provide clear evidence to the mental health sector that they will be able to transition the remaining people who access services and demonstrate a commitment to the principle of no disadvantage. People who need to access services should not have to face further barriers to entry’, said Ms Whybrow.

According to the report, 19% of people who need to access the NDIS program cited that they do not want to, are unable to, or are yet to start the process.

Ms Whybrow said, ‘This emphasises a level of distrust towards the scheme itself’.

The report highlights significant concerns regarding the barriers and hurdles for people with a psychosocial disability and the NDIS, including a higher than expected rate of people who are deemed ineligible.

University of Sydney project lead, Dr Nicola Hancock, said that, ‘We are reporting on over 8000 Australians living with mental illness in this project. This report presents a large set of national data that evidences the barriers that people living with mental illness are experiencing as they apply to transition into the NDIS. It also highlights the very real risk that many people with serious mental illness will lose much needed supports when current Commonwealth programs close in June next year to fund the NDIS’.

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Media Enquiries: Jacklyn Whybrow, Acting Chief Executive Officer, QAMH, 07 3252 9411 or

Academic Enquiries: Dr Nicola Hancock, The University of Sydney, 02 9351 9379 or

The CMHA and University of Sydney report (Commonwealth Mental Health Programs Monitoring Project – Tracking transitions of people from PIR, PHaMs and D2DL into the NDIS) can be accessed here https://tinyurl.com/y3so6cnh

Please include the following crisis support services for any story regarding mental health or suicide.
Lifeline: 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au
beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 www.beyondblue.org.au 

More information on safely reporting on mental illness or suicide can be found at https://mindframe.org.au/ and https://www.tascharter.org/