Independent Mental Health Advocacy

NDIS mental health toolkit

This toolkit is designed to provide you with the information, skills and support to advocate for what you want under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

  • The toolkit has information and worksheets to help you know your rights and speak up for yourself, whether you are applying for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or have already been accepted.

    We created it with people with experience of using the mental health system and the NDIS. They told us they wanted to know more about how to self-advocate under the NDIS’ psychosocial disability stream, and what information and features the toolkit should have.

    The toolkit is designed for people with lived experience of the mental health system who use or are eligible for the NDIS, but can also be used by supporters, such as carers, kin, family of origin, family of choice, friends, community members and support workers. We acknowledge that people using the tool might have both psychosocial and physical disability.

    You can find more information about the NDIS in the IMHA Self-Advocacy for the NDIS workbook.

  • You can use the links on this page to select the section that suits your needs best.

    The order of the links follow the process of applying for the NDIS, but you don’t have to use each section in order.

    The toolkit has been designed to be used however you choose, there is no right or wrong way to use it. For example, you may choose to work through the toolkit from start to finish, or go straight to a specific section that is more relevant to you. You can use the toolkit in whatever way works best for you.

    You can ask someone to help you use the toolkit. This could be a carer, kin, family of origin, family of choice, friend, community member, or support worker. If you're not sure who could support you, you can look at the Who will support me? section of this toolkit.

    While using the toolkit, it's important to consider that:

    • each section will provide you with information and then the opportunity to fill out a worksheet
    • each section can take up to one hour to work through
    • to make sure your information remains confidential, the toolkit does not store the information you enter. This means you won't be able to access what you enter at a later time. Learn more about our privacy policy
    • to keep a copy of what you have entered, you can select the print button on each page. You can also use the print option to save what you have entered as a PDF.
    • each worksheet section gives you the option to enter text in the boxes provided. If you'd like to express yourself in another way, you can leave the box blank before printing it.
    • you can have a look through the information in the toolkit before using the worksheets. This will give you time to think about what is important to you.
    • you will notice quotes throughout the toolkit. These are from people with their own experience of the mental health system, psychosocial disability or the NDIS. They will be highlighted like the following quote.
    'People need to be aware about how the NDIS actually helps, and that it is worthwhile advocating for yourself to get onto the NDIS.'
  • Where possible we have used plain language. We would like to acknowledge that there are times we have had to use the language of the NDIS.

    You can look at these websites for more information if you come across a term you don't understand:

  • Speaking up for what you want can be challenging. Another name for this is 'self-advocacy' which involves asking for what you need, negotiating and knowing your rights. The IMHA self-advocacy modelExternal Link can help you let people know what it is you want. You can use this model when you are working through this toolkit.

  • Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our offices are based and where we undertake our work. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.

    IMHA would like to acknowledge and thank all the people who contributed to the co-design of this toolkit. Your generosity in sharing your experiences, expertise and time have resulted in a useful toolkit for people experiencing mental health issues. In particular, our team of lived experience co-designers, members of our Speaking From Experience consumer advisory group, IMHA NDIS Self-advocacy project team, and sector stakeholders. The following people and organisations contributed to the development of this toolkit:

    • Caroline Strum
    • Charles Manila
    • Chris Thatcher
    • Christie Jones, IMHA NDIS Project Administration Officer
    • Hannah Friebel
    • Jeremy Le Roux, IMHA NDIS Lived Experience Consultant
    • Kelsey McGowan
    • Robbie Dettmann, VACCHO
    • Susan Alvarez-Vasquez
    • Tandem members who participated in the consultations during Tandem Time
    • Tania Curlis, Clinical Director, Clarable
    • Tania Nicholls, Mental Health Service Development Unit, St Vincent's Hospital
    • VMIAC

    We would like to note that not all contributors wanted to be named.

    The toolkit is based on the IMHA Self-advocacy for the NDIS workbookExternal Link . We would like to acknowledge and thank all people who contributed to the co-design of the workbook.

    We’d like to thank our funding body. The Commonwealth government funded the Victorian Department of Health’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Division for IMHA to deliver this toolkit as part of the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building program.

Before applying for the NDIS

If you've been accepted onto the NDIS

Reviewed 19 January 2023