Supporting choice, recovery and participation: Information is the key to NDIS access for those with psychosocial disability
Stewart, V., Visser, K. and Slattery, M
Abstract: Currently there is limited understanding of how people living with severe and persistent mental health issues use and experience the internet when searching for information regarding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). This study aimed to investigate what information mental health consumers want about the NDIS and how they would find this online. A small exploratory qualitative cross-sectional study was conducted using a naturalistic inquiry approach. Brief semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data from nine mental health consumers living in Hobart, Australia. Three emergent themes were identified, (1) knowledge about the NDIS; (2) internet usage; and (3) the importance of language. The findings highlighted that individuals accessed NDIS information from a variety of sources with a preference for obtaining information from people rather than the internet. Of those who had searched online for NDIS related information, their level of understanding of the scheme was quite limited suggesting that information provided online was not adequately meeting their needs. More generally, participants reported difficulty navigating NDIS literature due to language complexity. Participants also reported confusion regarding specific aspects of the NDIS scheme and a misunderstanding of the roles and functions of the NDIS and Centrelink. These findings suggest that the information provided to potential NDIS psychosocial participants does not meet their needs, and individuals want simple guidance as to what the NDIS is, how it works, and what funding opportunities it offers people. Access to clear and easy to understand information for mental health consumers may support recovery via improved uptake of the NDIS.