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Mental Health - Therapy

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Today, Friday, December 3, is International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD). It’s a time to reflect on what we can do to increase our understanding and acceptance of people with disability, as well as celebrate their achievements and contributions.

This year’s theme encourages us to highlight people, organisations and movements that work to build a more inclusive, accessible and sustainable tomorrow.

One of the (many) bright stars in our community is Lee Stewart. Lee is living with Schizophrenia and an associated psychosocial disability. He has been with Therapy Care for over three years, and receives the following disability support services under the National Insurance Disability Scheme (NDIS):

  • Social and community participation
  • Group Day program
  • Exercise physiology
  • Psychology
  • Plan Management
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Personal Care
  • Domestic Assistance
  • Lawn Maintenance

Lee looks forward to attending the Mind-Full Group Program throughout the week, as it’s where he has meaningful conversations he has with his friends and participates in thought-provoking activities.

In fact, Lee lovesl group program so much that he encouraged eight of his good friends to join!

“A key part of managing my mental health is surrounding myself with good friends. Therapy Care’s group program gives me the opportunity to do that, as well as partake in experiences I otherwise wouldn’t,” Lee explains.

“Now that I’ve been receiving the right type and amount of support for my abilities for a while, I see the benefits of inviting people who care about your wellbeing into your life.”

Lee continues, “It wasn’t long before I started telling my friends about my support services and then eventually encouraged them to take the step to join me at the Mind-Full program.

“The Mind-Full Group Program is a safe place where we’re encouraged to participate in the way we choose. That might not sound like a big deal to some, but for people who haven’t really accessed the community in over a decade, it’s everything.

“My friend Lloyd, who’s been attending the Mind-Full program for a while now, says he really looks forward to the activities and is certain it’s reduced his stress levels,” says Lee.

It’s safe to say we’re so proud of Lee and the role he plays in encouraging his friends to take steps towards community involvement and any other goals they may have.

For Lee, he holds aspirations he never thought he would. He is currently writing a book, working on his poetry and is on track to secure employment in the new year!

“The support I’ve received has played a significant role in realising my own potential and creating more purpose in my life. It fills me with joy to express my life story with other people who may benefit from it, particularly those living with mental health conditions,” Lee says.

We’re so proud of you Lee and can’t wait to see what lies ahead for you!

Therapy Care offers three separate streams of Group Day Program:

  • Mind-Full Program,
  • Life-Skills Program, and
  • Social Saturdays.

Learn more about each stream here.


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It’s Schizophrenia Awareness Week and this year, the theme is “Discover Better Mental Health”. The aim is to:

  • highlight the voice of lived experience to support connection,
  • to provide practical suggestions about how people can discover better mental health, and
  • to let people living with schizophrenia know that they can reach out for support if they need it.

Did you know people living with mental health conditions may be eligible for support under the NDIS?

Lee does, and since receiving NDIS support via Therapy Care, he has turned his life around.

Lee, who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia 23 years ago, receives:

  • support to help him get ready each morning every week day,
  • transport to the day’s activity, appointments and shopping,
  • recreational therapy where Lee works on increasing his daily living skills,
  • a spot in Therapy Care’s group day program (mind-full stream) three days a week, and
  • domestic assistance to support Lee with staying on top of household chores.

This level of support has enabled Lee to re-enter the workforce – something he thought was beyond his reach two years ago.

Lee says, “employment gives me a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of bed every day. I feel confident about re-entering the workforce because Therapy Care will be by my side each day.”

Lee joined the Therapy Care community four years ago. During this time Recreational Therapist, Karlie Scurr, has been working closely with Lee and his support team to integrate services tailored specifically to his interests and goals.

“Lee’s confidence has improved drastically. Having a support worker who encourages him to take care of himself daily has made the world of difference. Lee now takes pride in his appearance and often comes into the office to show off how good he is looking and feeling,” says Karlie.

Missy, one of Lee’s key support workers says, “Lee, who was once very set in his ways, is now very open to trying new activities and he has adopted a more positive attitude towards life. As a result, his kindness and caring personality shines through and is noticed by our wider community.”

“Trying new activities and socialising doesn’t come easily to me. I love that the team at Therapy Care encourages me to live outside of my comfort zone in environments where I feel safe and supported. Because of this, I’ve made new friends and enjoyed activities I never thought I would,” says Lee.

The Lee four years ago wouldn’t recognise the Lee today. He knows how to budget, has savings in his bank account, is employed, takes pride in how he looks, has a great circle of friends, isn’t afraid to try new activities and is a whizz at using his iPad.

“I’d love to be a mentor for other people with mental illness and demonstrate just how capable they are of achieving a life that they might think is out of reach,” says Lee.

When reflecting on the life Lee has built for himself, he is overwhelmed with pride. “It took me so long to get to where I am now and I’m so proud of myself and excited for what the future holds,” says Lee.

While we’ve come a long way in breaking down the stigma around mental illness, the perception of Schizophrenia largely remains misconstrued.

“There are many misconceptions about Schizophrenia. Many of us keep our condition well-managed and behave and function like everyone else.

“I am kind, gentle and caring. I wish more people knew this about me and that one day I don’t feel as misjudged as I do today,” says Lee.


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October is Mental Health Month in NSW. This awareness month encourages all of us to think about our own and others mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether we may have a lived experience of mental illness or not.

We recently spoke to Lloyd Slade, 43, who has shared his experience living with a mental health condition and disability. Lloyd hopes it will increase awareness, understanding and compassion for those who are in the same boat.

Lloyd lives with schizophrenia, severe depression, anxiety and a mild intellectual disability. He was first diagnosed with schizophrenia after he experienced a nervous breakdown at 17 years of age.

“For many years, my mental health condition created a barrier between me and the outside world. I really struggled to go out into the community which severely impacted my ability to land a steady job.

“While I have been receiving support consistently since the age of 16, it’s only since being with Therapy Care that I’ve really started to re-integrate into the community,” says Lloyd.

“I am really comfortable with the staff and fellow participants at Therapy Care and enjoy the outing and how tailored my support is.

“While I’ve achieved my first goal of getting out into the community with Therapy Care, I still hold hope to someday find employment,” Lloyd says.

“I have come a long way since I first started receiving support from Therapy Care. I am more hopeful about my future. I am surrounded by great people and receive supports that improve my life and set me up to achieve my NDIS goals.

“For those who are living with a mental health condition and don’t feel supported, my advice is, to reach out to someone or an organisation who you think may be a good match for you. There is support out there and things do get better,” says Lloyd.

Lloyd concludes, “For people who want to do more to understand and advocate for those living with a mental health condition, my advice is to make sure those people in your life feel listened to and heard. We often feel misunderstood, so when people truly try and empathise, it really means a lot.”

If you’re living with a mental health condition and disability and are looking for support, we invite you to reach out to us at info@therapycare.com.au


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Today is #WorldMentalHealthDay, and it comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past months have brought a diverse set of challenges for many of us. But for those living with mental health conditions and disabilities, those challenges have been considerable, with many experiencing even greater social isolation than before.

We recently spoke to one of our western Sydney participants, Jacqueline Miller, who has graciously shared her experience living with schizophrenia, and details what these past few months have been like for her. Jacqueline hopes sharing her story will shed light on what living with a mental health condition is really like and break down the stigma.

1. Tell me about the first time you sought help for mental illness?

In 2009, I had awful hallucinations. I was reduced to tears and had to urgently see my GP in Seven hills. She referred me to the mental health team at Blacktown Hospital at Bungaribee house. I saw a psychiatrist there and they diagnosed me with schizophrenia.

2. What were the factors that contributed to your illness?

I was working as an administrator back in 2009. My schizophrenia wasn’t necessarily triggered by a certain event. It came with no warning. No one in my family has any mental illnesses, so it isn’t hereditary. It came out of the blue when life was a little bit stressful.

3. How did you feel when you received a diagnosis?

I was very scared. I was put on medication straight away. I felt immediately very different to everybody else in my family and at work. I felt alone. I found it was very hard for me to be motivated in life, to do anything around the house or go to work. I stopped working in 2010 – less than 12 months after my diagnosis. Work suggested I retire and advised me they no longer thought I was fit to work. After I was dismissed, I lost all motivation. Ever since my diagnosis, life has been challenging. I have frequent episodes of severe depression, anxiety, psychosis, and insomnia.

4. How have you coped with isolation?

I can’t say that I cope well with isolation, but unlike everyone else, isolation isn’t something new to me.

I live with schizophrenia and a psychosocial disability, which means this condition is life-long. This means I find it very difficult to go out into the community and struggle with confidence. Spending a lot of time by myself is a life I’ve grown used to.
I’m grateful for my consistent support team and the services I receive at Therapy Care through my NDIS package.

During low periods, where I struggle with isolation, the best thing for me to do is take my medication methodically, receive psychosocial intervention through my support services at Therapy Care, have regular check-ups with my psychiatrist and routine visits with my GP and psychologist.

Even if it’s just once a week for now, getting out into the community is very important to me. The interaction with my support worker is also an activity I always look forward to.

I am very fond of the Therapy Care workers and am working with them to create goals for my next plan period that will steadily see me continue to improve my overall quality of life.

5. What do you want people to know about your mental illness?

There is so much people don’t know about schizophrenia which unfortunately results in a lot of stigma towards people living with the condition. I hope in the future, people invest more time in trying to understand the illness.

If you or a loved one is suffering with your mental health, don’t be afraid to seek help. There are so many supportive people and resources out there readily available to you. The quicker you ask for help, the quicker you receive the support you need. You shouldn’t be alone.

6. What would you like to say about the stigma surrounding mental illness?

At times I feel aggressive, but it’s never directed towards anyone else – it’s frustration at myself.

I always try to be a lovely and kind person and many people describe me this way, perhaps just withdrawn at times. Making friends and trying new things is difficult, however now that I have a great support team and am on the right service plan, I can access the community and live a quality life.

Schizophrenia can be scary for the person diagnosed, the fear of being rejected from the community is overwhelming.
This is a life-long condition, and I will always continue to work on myself.

7. Has your life changed since receiving NDIS supports through Therapy Care?

Yes, it really has. Before joining Therapy Care, I wasn’t receiving the right support for my mental health condition and therefore was quite withdrawn and led a very isolated life.

Since receiving support, it has been one of my main goals to become more social and feel more comfortable being out and about.

I’m working with Therapy Care’s Recreational Therapist, Karlie Scurr, to integrate into the community through the Group Day Program and social supports.

I currently attend the mind-full stream of the Group Day Program once a fortnight. In addition, I have two social support sessions each week, where with my support worker, participate in meaningful leisure and recreational activities.

I also attend the 2-hour Group Rehab session each week, where I work on my physical fitness alongside fellow participants.

My ultimate dream was visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens, which Therapy Care recently made a reality. It was a beautiful day.


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A question we hear often is, can I receive support under the NDIS for a mental health condition? The short answer is yes. But there’s a lot you need to understand before applying, which is why we’ve answered all relevant questions below. 

What mental health conditions does the NDIS provide support for?

Many mental health conditions are funded under the NDIS. For example, at Therapy Care we support participants living with schizophrenia, bipolar and severe depression. To qualify for support under the NDIS, you must have a psychosocial disability that arises from your mental health condition.

Not everyone who has a mental health condition lives with an associated psychosocial disability. A psychosocial disability can affect your ability to undertake everyday tasks such as accessing the community, banking, shopping and performing personal care.

Living with a mental health condition and psychosocial disability is severe and longstanding. Many do require daily support to continue living quality lives despite their diagnosis.

How are people’s plans and the finance to support them determined under the NDIS?

A founding principle of the NDIS is: People with disability should be supported to participate in and contribute to social and economic life to the extent of their ability.

Under the NDIS, recovery means a person is able to achieve an optimal state of personal, social and emotional wellbeing while living with a mental health condition.

NDIS plans are developed by professional plan managers hired under the NDIS; who with supporting documentation, will decide what levels of support someone with a mental health condition needs for maintained independence and quality of life.

Once that’s determined, they suggest NDIS providers like Therapy Care for the participant to choose from. Or the participant has the option of doing their own research into finding a provider that they deem the best fit for them.

Plans consist of capacity building and core supports. The more support someone needs, the more funding they will receive in their NDIS package which is reviewed every 12-24 months.

Do people receiving funding and services under the NDIS get to choose the providers they seek support from?

The NDIS is all about choice and control. Participants have the right to choose who they receive support services from and how. If you are plan managed, you can use any support services you wish. For those whose plans are NDIA managed, they must use a registered NDIS provider. Participants can choose how their plan is managed in their initial and renewal meetings.

Some participants at Therapy Care have been referred to us by local area coordinators, while others have found us online or been referred to us by members in their community, family, or friends.

What support services are available for people living with mental health conditions?

  • Plan management (to handle paying the bills)
  • Support coordination (to assist you in choosing service providers and being linked in with community supports; there are support coordinators trained in mental health)
  • Assistance with daily activities such as meal preparation, personal care, domestic assistance and house and yard maintenance
  • Capacity building supports such as recreational therapy, exercise physiology, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and dietician supports
  • Support to access the community and participate in community activities whether this be in a one on one capacity or through participating in a NDIS provider’s group day program

What’s the first step someone living with a mental health condition takes in order to apply for NDIS funding and support services?

If you think you or a loved one may be living with a mental health condition and think you may have an associated psychosocial disability, contact your local GP who will refer you to a mental health professional. From there, you complete a functional assessment and with the help of the mental health professional, fill out the submission form to the NDIS. 

This, along with other supporting documentation such as personal statements or statements written by family, friends and support workers to explain how you carry out everyday tasks is useful. Other documentation and formal assessments given to Centrelink or other government departments can also be helpful.

How does the NDIS model empower people living with disability or mental health conditions to take control of their care plan?

The NDIS empowers people with disability to have a voice and participate actively in our community. It promotes their independence and their choice and control over their service providers, and how they choose to receive support.

Therapy Care participants frequently comment on how much more in control of their lives they feel because of the responsibility and ability to choose.

Do carers receive support under the NDIS?

It is important for carers to understand and be prepared for the NDIS. Participants of the scheme are offered choice and control over the way they purchase and receive their support needs, through individual packages of support.

The NDIS recognises that carers play an important role in supporting a person with disability, and the wellbeing of the family is considered when putting together a plan for participants.

Carers can support the person they care for prepare for the NDIS by ensuring:

  • The person they care for is supported to access the NDIS
  • The person they care for receives support that is reasonable and necessary, and right for their situation
  • You, as the carer of a person with disability who is eligible for the NDIS, receives the appropriate amount of support to continue in your role as someone’s primary carer.

If you have any further questions about NDIS support for mental health conditions, please get in touch with us at info@therapycare.com.au / 02 9626 8119.


Therapy Care Western Sydney
2/55 Campbell St
Blacktown, NSW 2148

Therapy Care Brisbane
5/1472 Boundary Rd
Wacol, QLD 4076
Spic N Span Gold Coast
13/99 West Burleigh Rd
Burleigh Heads QLD 4220

Thrive on Therapy
Suite 15-16, 49-51 Thomas Dr
Chevron Island QLD 4217
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