Mental Health Carers NSW (MHCN) advocates for carers and friends supporting persons experiencing mental ill health and distress, including psychosocial disability, which is a term “used to describe the challenges, or limits, a person experiences in life that are related to their mental health condition” (MHCC 2021). Persons affected by psychosocial disability usually experience symptoms consistently or are consistently at a high risk of experiencing symptoms, which can cause a range of negative impacts, including social and economic. Consequently, they may experience increased vulnerability to abuse, exploitation, and neglect. Carers and family members provide vital supports, bridging gaps in the system and advocating on behalf of their loved one for access to such services.
Psychosocial disability is a major mental health concern. In Australia 4.4 million people have a disability, 26% of whom have a psychosocial disability (ABS 2018a). 47% of adults with a disability have experienced violence in comparison with 36% of those without a disability after the age of 15 (AIHW 2022). As reported by the ABS (2018a) the rate of psychological disability seems to increase with age, with 27.2% of women and 21.9% of men aged 85 years and over experiencing psychosocial disability. However, identifying whether a person is experiencing a short to medium term illness or disability can be challenging.
Mental ill health and distress increases vulnerability to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation. The support provided by carers and family is vital in helping to ensure safety and protection. However, significantly better access to information and resources are needed to better support and guide carers and family members in their caring role. MHCN strongly believes that providing such support will help to improve safety and protection of persons with psychosocial disability.
You can read and download our full submission here:
10th January, 2023