What exactly is a Psychosocial Recovery Coach?

You’ve probably seen the title “psychosocial recovery coach” either on your plan or mentioned in National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) circles – but what are they? What do they do? How can they help you? And who can become one?

A psychosocial recovery coach is a specialist mental health support person that some NDIS participants with mental health conditions may have access to under their plans.

Recovery coaches help people with disabilities arising from mental health conditions to live a full and contributing life.

A recovery coach is an NDIS-funded worker that has mental health knowledge. A recovery coach will:

  • Spend time with participants, and people important to them, to get to know you and understand their needs.
  • Help participants to find out about different services and supports, and how these can help them.
  • Help participants get support from mental health services, and
  • Help participants better understand the NDIS and support them with the NDIS.

But not just anyone can become a psychosocial recovery coach.

The NDIS recommends that recovery coaches have a minimum of Certificate 4 in Mental Health or Mental Health Peer work or similar training and/or two years’ paid experience in supporting people with mental health challenges.

Some recovery coaches may have other qualifications. It’s always good to ask about the qualifications and experience of your recovery coach.

Participants can also choose a recovery coach with lived experience: A recovery coach with lived experience has their own lived experience of mental ill health and recovery and are able to use this experience to inform their work.

The NDIS believes there are five important questions to consider when choosing a recovery coach:

  1. Are they someone you can get along with and easy to talk to? Are they good at listening to you?
  2. Do they have a lived experience of mental illness and recovery?
  3. What are their level of qualifications and experience, and ongoing training?
  4. Are they registered or not registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguard Commission?
  5. Are they available to support you at times and locations that are suitable to you?

Not everyone on the NDIS will need a psychosocial recovery coach. A psychosocial disability is a term used to describe a disability that may arise from a mental health condition and may be included in some plans.

Not everyone who has a mental health condition will have a psychosocial disability, but for people who do, it can be severe, longstanding and impact on their recovery. People with a disability as a result of their mental health condition may qualify for the NDIS.

The term “recovery” is used widely throughout the mental health sector. It can have different meanings in different contexts.

The NDIA defines recovery as achieving an optimal state of personal, social and emotional wellbeing, as defined by each individual, whilst living with or recovering from a mental health condition.

These include:

  • Choice and control for participants.
  • A lifetime commitment to support and funding (enables hope and optimism).
  • Provision of plan flexibility (enables support to be used to meet different needs at different times).
  • Opportunities for increased social and economic participation.
  • Disability focused support which is recovery orientated.

Read about one participant’s experience with a recovery coach and his journey to independence here.

More information is available on the NDIS website.

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