Reform to Psychosocial Programs supporting people with Mental Illness

The Commonwealth Government funding toward psychosocial programs for people with mental illness is undergoing significant reform as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) reaches the final stages of roll out. 

Background

The Commonwealth Government funding toward psychosocial programs for people with mental illness is undergoing significant reform as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) reaches the final stages of roll out. 

Partners in Recovery (PIR), Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHAMs) and Day to Day Living (D2DL) are the three key Commonwealth funded, national psychosocial support programs.  Funding for these programs is transitioning into the NDIS.  From July 1, 2019, their function will be replaced by two new measures – the Continuity of Support (COS) measure and the National Psychosocial Support Measure (NPSM). 

Participants of PIR, PHAMs and D2DL who have tested eligibility to the NDIS by July 1, 2019 and have not been accepted into the scheme, will continue to be supported by COS.  Those that are accepted to the NDIS will receive individualized packages to accommodate their psychosocial needs through the NDIS.  The NPSM is for people requiring psychosocial supports who do not have an NDIS package and are not funded through COS arrangements. 

It is important to note that Northern Territory Government (NTG) funded psychosocial support programs remain unaffected by the reform to Commonwealth Government funded programs.  NTG funded psychosocial support programs include the Recovery Assistance Program, Pathways to Recovery, Housing Accommodation Support Initiative, MiPlace, TEMCHO and various Tenancy Support Programs.  Family and Youth psychosocial support programs run by Community Mental Health organizations also remain unaffected.

Funding for the new measures

The NPSM was announced by the Commonwealth Government as $80 million over 4 years, to be matched by States and Territories.  The allocation to States and Territories was made based on population and PHNs around Australia are commissioning the Commonwealth contribution to the measure.  As the Northern Territory population is approximately 1% of the national population, NT PHN is responsible for commissioning the Commonwealth contribution to the NPSM which is $800,000 until June 30, 2021. 

The COS measure was announced by the Commonwealth Government as $109.8 million over 3 years from July 1, 2019.  Current estimates by the Commonwealth are that the COS measure will service 8,800 participants nationally.  By contrast with the NPSM, the allocation to States and Territories for COS is expected to be made in accordance with regional need, accommodating population dispersion and demographics.  PHNs around Australia will commission the COS measure and are awaiting further information from the Commonwealth.  NT PHN will be responsible for commissioning the COS measure in the Northern Territory with activities to commence from July 1, 2019 when funding for the existing programs PIR, PHAMs and D2DL ceases.

Role of NT PHN

NT PHN understands the importance of commissioning the NPSM and COS measure in a way that is integrated to minimize the impact of the reform to people using the system, as well as providers working in the sector. 

NT PHN is awaiting further detail relating to the COS measure before commissioning the full NPSM, so as to provide an integrated commissioning strategy.  By implementing an integrated commissioning strategy, NT PHN seeks to ensure that all areas of the Northern Territory have continued access to appropriate psychosocial supports.

NT PHN has commenced some commissioning activities for the NPSM, which includes an interim commissioning strategy, until more information is released regarding the COS measure. The interim strategy is a pilot for group-based, capacity building supports, using peers. The pilot seeks to provide a mechanism for psychosocial support that

  1. Has broad reach and requires relatively low resourcing,

  2. Serves to reduce stigmatization experienced by people with mental illness, and

  3. Stimulates the capacity of the peer workforce.

NT PHN shall engage with Northern Territory stakeholders including NTG and relevant peak bodies in preparation for integrated commissioning of the NPSM and COS measure.

Further Information

NT PHN will use established communication channels in the mental health sector to convey information that emerges relating to the psychosocial reform and associated funding measures.  To directly contact NT PHN in this regard please use the following channels          

Email:  mentalhealth@ntphn.org.au

Phone: (08) 8982 1000

Mail:  23 Albatross St, Winnellie NT 0820

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