Clearing haze on NDIS

A Wangaratta mental health service has stepped in to help anxious NDIS clients struggling to understand how and when the scheme will roll out.

Mind Recovery College’s Adele Henwood said the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would transform the sector but people were confused about the changes.

Ms Henwood said the college would host classes to ensure people knew what they could get out of it.

“It’s such a big change in the mental health system; even people already in the NDIS are confused,” she said.

“There’s a lot of changes overnight and people are trying to keep up.”

Mind Recovery College runs classes where residents can learn about mental health and gain practical skills.

It also runs classes in Benalla, Wodonga and Albury.

Learning and development consultant Kim Salter said the course would take place ahead of Wangaratta’s October NDIS roll-out with the first session free. 

“There’a a lot of unknowns and people are really anxious,” Miss Salter said. 

“It can be scary – especially for folks in a difficult or challenging time and who may have a tendency to think negatively about change.”

Miss Salter said it was vital students knew about and were able to navigate the scheme.

“The course will be really hands on and practical,” Miss Salter said.

“The initial planning meeting for NDIS is so important – people need to know the language to use to be able to communicate what they want.”

The college runs practical courses where facilitators with lived experience hold classes on everything from exploring grief and loss, navigating the mental health system to becoming private rental ready, and coping with Christmas. 

Two years ago, Mind Recovery College included Wangaratta as a pilot campus with Melbourne after success in the United States and United Kingdom. 

Operations manager Amy Scott said it was important to have a presence in regional areas and programs were tailored with local input. 

Miss Salter said the change in students over the two years was astounding. 

“One thing that’s so simple is people realise they are not alone, it immediately provides relief,” she said.

“They’ve gone on to get jobs, study or even facilitate courses.”