When the NDIS was introduced, there was confusion over its mandate. Would it support people with physical disabilities, mental illnesses, or both? What was the scope of their services?
For many years the NDIS used support coordinators to support the disabled and the mentally ill. However, in 2020, the organisation introduced psychosocial recovery coaching. As the name suggests, the new service aimed to offer special support to people with mental illnesses.
Here are the key differences between psychosocial recovery coaching and support coordination.
Psychosocial recovery coaches must have a tertiary qualification in mental health or peer work. This means at least a Certificate IV in Mental Health or Mental Health Peer Work. Besides, they must also have a minimum of two years working with mental health institutions or patients.
The NDIS demands the above qualifications because of the delicate nature of mental health patients. They need professionals to assist them in their recovery.
Most recovery coaches have ample experience in training for handling mental illnesses or are recovered patients. Experience is vital because it enables coaches to empathise with their clients. More importantly, a client is more likely to believe and work towards recovery if assisted by someone who has been in their situation.
Recovery coaches focus their energies on recovery-oriented services. Their approach is more intense, and they usually form close relationships with their clients. The lived experience is crucial in ensuring these relationships last, as the coaches adopt an empathetic and non-judgemental attitude toward their clients.
Moreover, recovery coaches might use client-specific approaches to achieve unique goals. Contrarily, support coordinators use a blanket approach to their clients. On their part, clients trust and feel connected to their coaches, which helps their recovery.
Support coordinators have a higher basic salary than recovery coaches. Some believe this undermines the lived experience and academic qualification the NDIS demands from coaches. Others see it as an opportunity to allow support coordinators to earn more for 'easier' tasks.
However, the difference may be justified by the length of support offered to people under recovery coaches. A psychosocial recovery support plan usually lasts longer than standard NDIS plans, allowing coaches to enjoy compensation for extended periods.
Moreover, recovery coaching has added flexibility regarding overtime and weekend rates. Since the support level is higher, coaches are more likely to work overtime during weekends, increasing their pay.
Can Recovery Coaching Coexist with Support Coordination?
Support coordination mainly entails identifying, managing, and reviewing NDIS support plans for people with disabilities. On the other hand, recovery coaching involves giving hope and empathising with mentally ill individuals through interactions with professionals with lived experiences. These two services can coexist without problems.
The introduction of recovery coaching is one of the most significant developments of the NDIS. This new service will support people living with mental illnesses and help them recover. However, the program's newness means that the supply of recovery coaches is still lower than the demand.
Despite the introduction of recovery coaching, support coordination remains NDIS's most crucial program. It supports people with disabilities, the terminally ill, and the elderly. So far, the plan has done a commendable job taking care of the mentally ill, and this will improve with recovery coaching.
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