Advocacy for Inclusion (AFI) is a national systemic body representing people with disabilities in the ACT. AFI undertakes systemic advocacy and provides expert policy advice on issues affecting people with disabilities through our individual advocacy clients and membership base in the ACT.
AFI would like to thank the Productivity Commission for the opportunity to contribute to a response to the Draft Recommendations and Findings. Although AFI did not place a submission to the Commission’s Inquiry into the Social and Economic Benefits of Mental Health, the change in our advocacy delivery and the emergence of new advocacy and support requests for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has expanded our need to deliver advocacy support to people with psychosocial disability and mental illness tenfold in the past two years. The National Disability Insurance Agency (NOIA) has reported that nationally 2,630 active participants with an approved plan identified as having a psychosocial disability, with 19 of these plans approved within the ACT.
Throughout this submission we address ‘mental health’ in the terminology of ‘psychosocial disability and mental illness’ as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
This submission will address our response to the Draft Recommendations and Findings, as well as provide insight into our experience providing advocacy support for people with psychosocial disability and mental illness in the ACT. It has been AFI’s experience that psychosocial disability can aggravate mental health conditions, causing further social isolation and economic marginalisation. People with psychosocial disability and mental illness are among the most disadvantaged in Australian society, often with accompanying health or biomedical issues.