Did you know that 32% of adults with disability have undergone high or very high psychological stress compared with 8% without disability? Anxiety, depression and stress are some of the most common conditions posing barriers that prevent people with disability from engaging in everyday activities.
While these daily activities and goals aren’t directly related to mental health, the psychological stress can have a major impact on an individual’s health. Mental health is often pushed aside and is considered a small worry, when usually it causes more complications in the long-run without proper intervention.
It is also a concern when 1-2 people with disability who need health care assistance only receive informal assistance. The access to mental health services is crucial in supporting an individual’s long term goals and Psychologists can help bring those to life. But how do they do this exactly?
Psychologists offer specialised counselling services to assist with mental health and general wellbeing and encourage participants to engage in purposeful interaction in their daily lives. Having undergone more rigorous training and education in comparison to counsellors, Psychologists apply their extensive knowledge of therapeutic services, to provide evidence based and goal-orientated strategies that ensure their clients achieve their goals.
“Each individual is unique! Our services at breakthru are tailored to the needs and goals of our customers and families. We aim to provide quality therapeutic counselling services with empathy, congruence (genuineness) and unconditional positive regard in a safe, supportive, non-judgmental and confidential setting” – Puja Bhattacharya, Provisional Psychologist, breakthru
How to access a Psychologist
For individuals with an NDIS plan, Psychologists provide therapeutic supports under the line item ‘Improved Daily Living’ in the Capacity Building category. Therefore, you will need to check that your NDIS Plan covers this line item to access the service.
Improved Daily Living covers funds to access an allied health professional and is generally flexible across other therapeutic services and training. These can include occupational therapy, nutrition, counselling, psychology, specialised driving, and skills development services that can be delivered in groups or individually.
It is important to note that Capacity Building support funds cannot be moved from one support category to another. Funding can only be used to cover services in approved individual supports that are within the item Improved Daily Living.
If you are unsure what all of the different funding categories mean in your NDIS plan, we covered this topic in our article about Capacity Building.
For individuals that don’t have an NDIS plan, you can also find a Psychologist privately with a quick online search. If you’re unable to afford private sessions and feel you need support, you can talk to your GP about developing a mental health care plan that will subsidise the cost of up to 10 appointments.
The perks of seeing a Psychologist
Psychologists are extremely helpful as they provide expert guidance and support that allows you to improve your overall quality of life. They do this by providing therapeutic interventions/assessments using person-centred, non-invasive counselling techniques that are tailored to your individual circumstances.
Psychologists also provide a lot of additional support to ensure you can effectively break down any barriers that may be preventing you from achieving your individual goals. This could include activities like:
- Supporting individuals with social skills.
- Helping participants with emotional regulation.
- Supporting the capacity to participate in social and community activities.
- Supporting the improvement daily living skills for independence.
- Helping manage any mental health symptoms by creating a plan.
- Empowering an individual’s support network.
NDIS psychologists work collaboratively with other supports to achieve common goals, and usually is a part of a broader goal. For example, the goal to build capacity in community activities may require being able to take public transport as the first step.
An Occupational Therapist may assist by conducting functional capacity assessments, evaluating an individual’s capacity to perform activities. However, psychologists can assist additional barriers such as anxiety and improvement on social skills by developing a framework for how to respond in different social situations.
Including psychology services is a great way to get extra specialist support in your specific needs, and for targeting long term personal capacity goals.
NDIS psychologists can also provide Specialised Positive Behaviour Support and Specialised Support Coordination. Under these services psychologists can also:
- Conduct behavioural assessments to effectively put together an action plan if you or a loved one are on the receiving end of a complex or seemingly negative behaviour. It is important to note that behavioural supports are under ‘Improved Relationships’ which is a different line item to ‘Improved Daily Living’ and you may need additional funding to cover both costs.
- Provide Specialist Support Coordination to manage challenges in your support environment which may include health, education, or justice services. Specialist Support Coordination aims to reduce barriers to implementing or using your NDIS plan and includes all the activities outlined in ‘Support Coordination.
Psychologists can address situations that require additional support for complex situations. NDIS psychologists can also conduct an assessment to determine if you meet the psychosocial disability criteria.
Alternatively, you can provide a copy of your medical history, and psychologists can complete the NDIS Evidence of Psychosocial Disability Form and submit it to the NDIA. While much of their work is tailored to each individual, psychologists take a collaborative approach and work with an array of services.
How we can help
At breakthru, we understand that its important you find someone that you not only connect with, but also feel you can depend on.
Our Psychologists are professionally recognised with many years of experience and will focus on understanding and eliminating barriers that are preventing you from your goals. Please talk to one of our friendly psychologists today we can provide you the best support for your needs.
Through lived experiences of family and friends experiencing mental health conditions, Louise has witnessed the misconceptions and difficulties experienced by people with disability. By working at breakthru, Louise hopes to increase awareness and engagement of people with disability to promote inclusion in the community and workplace.