Flourish Australia has become the first organisation selected to provide psychosocial support services for people who are living with severe mental illness under a national program targeting people not covered by the NDIS.
The not-for-profit mental health support organisation will deliver the National Psychosocial Support program in central and eastern Sydney.
The federal government announced the initiative last year to address concerns that some people with severe mental health issues were slipping through the NDIS net and committed $80 million over four years, to be matched by the states and territories, for 31 PHNs to commission support services.
“Flourish Australia has been commissioned by the Central and Eastern Sydney Primary Health Network to deliver activities under the National Psychosocial Support measure. Flourish Australia is the first contracted provider to date,” a health department spokeswoman told Community Care Review on Tuesday.
Bolstering services and support
The program aims to bolster support and improve outcomes and services for people whose mental health problems are affecting their lives, as well as taking pressure off acute health services, the government says.
Flourish, which provided services to 6,340 people in locations across NSW and in Queensland in 2018, will offer one-on-one psychosocial support as well as group support as part of the NPS program from April. It will also provide capacity building in social skills, family connections, daily living, finances, education, substance abuse and vocational skills.
“The aim is to provide targeted and timely support and interventions for people with mental health issues who need assistance but aren’t eligible for the NDIS,” Flourish Australia Operations Manager Andrew O’Brien told Community Care Review.
“Participants benefit through centre-based group activities and one-on-one community-based support. We are talking about simple but essential support that make big differences in terms of mental health recovery.”
In October last year the government announced about 64,000 Australians living with the most severe psychosocial disability would have access to the NDIS under a new stream, but that still leaves hundreds of thousands more in need of support, according to mental health Australia.
In 2015 more than a million Australians, or 4.5 per cent, reported having a psychosocial disability, according to the ABS.
Psychosocial disability is an internationally recognised term under the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities which applies to people who experience impairments related to mental health conditions.
This can include impaired ability to function, think clearly, experience full physical health and manage social and emotional aspects of their lives.