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Interview with our Community Accommodation Manager: Mental Health & The NDIS

This month is mental health awareness month and we spoke to our Community Accommodation Manager, Alyson Rogers who shared her opinion on mental health in the disability sector. Her message is simple yet so valuable... 

  1. What do you think are the most important things health professionals need to know about when working with people who have a mental health issue? 
    It is important to know about the individual’s past history and what their illness can look like at its best and at its worst. It’s also crucial to be aware about what successful and unsuccessful treatments and medications they have taken in the past as this is imperative knowledge for the treating team to know. Any background knowledge is super helpful.

  2. What is one of the biggest barriers to mental health in the NDIS sector? 
    The NDIS, like many people, see mental illness as a silent disability. When a person presents themselves as well, the NDIS sometimes believe that they function well, therefore making the insurance fund difficult to fund. There needs to be a greater understanding that mental illness, regardless of its name, can present itself differently on any given day/week/month/year.

  3. If you could make one process easier for people living with a disability and mental health, what would that be? 
    The “Change of Circumstance (COC)” process has to be easier and quicker, all disabilities (not just mental illness) can change rapidly however the COC takes months. The system needs to allow for these changes and fund them appropriately. There seems to be this mentality that when a plan is given, the client will remain in their current state of mental health for the next year and have no changes to their circumstance and often this is not the case, especially individuals with a mental illness. The other thing that must change is helping participants obtain their services quicker, i.e. psychiatrists/hospital or whatever therapy is required to prevent suicide and self harm or crime.

  4. What is the thing you love most about your role? 
    Everything, however there is nothing better than assisting a participant to find purpose and meaning in their life.

  5. Could you give an example of how someone you work with is now thriving through their accommodation or activities? 
    We brought 5 residents from Clifford House with us to SACARE’s Kilburn property, and 3 of them are absolutely thriving. They are doing things that they never did within an institutionalised setting and never knew they were capable of. I always knew they were capable of it and as a team we have proven it to them by allowing them to grow and now they are pretty much living independently with minimal supports. Some of these individuals have lived in institutionalised settings most of their adult lives, now they can live independently. This is very rewarding for SACARE as a team and for them as a person. It’s super exciting! 

If you would like to learn more about how THRIVE Therapy Services can improve the wellbeing of yourself, your loved one, or participant, email or call 1300 145 636. For more information on THRIVE Therapy Services visit: 

For more information on SACARE's community accommodation, CLICK HERE