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Psychosocial Disability Recovery Coach: What We Know

When the new role of psychosocial disability recovery coach was first announced, there were few details about what the role actually entailed. But that has all changed now! Vanessa Robinson explores the recently released information pack on this new role.


Updated 15 Apr 202429 Jul 2020

Since the beginning, the NDIS has been dogged by the reality that people with psychosocial disabilities as their primary diagnosis tend to have worse outcomes from the Scheme. To address this, in October 2019, the Disability Reform Council approved a number of actions. One of these was the inclusion of a new NDIS support item called the psychosocial recovery coach.  From the 1 July 2020, this support can be requested by participants whose primary diagnosis is psychosocial disability.

Recovery coaching is a contemporary way of working with people with psychosocial disability. It combines the principles of recovery- orientated practice with coaching principles with the aim of assisting people to build on their strengths and increase their capacity to control of their lives. Recovery oriented practice acknowledges that recovery is not necessarily about a cure but rather assisting people to live a full and meaningful life.

Psychosocial recovery coaches will work collaboratively with participants, acknowledging that each person is an expert in their own life. Coaches work with the person to develop goals, hopes and aspirations. It is a strength-based approach that is underpinned by strong and respectful relationships. Each person’s journey will be different. The recovery coaches also work in partnership with the participant’s clinical mental health services.

Late last week, the NDIA released their first ever Psychosocial Recovery Coach document. It has some great resources and provides an outline of the role.

The NDIA have stated that a recovery coach is responsible for:

  • Building strong relationships for recovery
  • Supporting the person with their recovery planning
  • Building personal capacity, including around motivation, strengths, resilience and decision making
  • Collaborating with other systems of support to ensure they are all on the right track
  • Supporting engagement with the NDIS
  • Documentation and reporting 

The recovery coach will be required to provide reports for the participants and NDIA. Reports should outline progress towards:

  • Recovery goals
  • Fund utlisation
  • Linkages to services
  • Changes in needs or circumstances

Which qualifications should a Psychosocial Recovery Coach have?

It depends where you look. While the Price Guide states that recovery coaches “must have” certain qualifications, the recently released recovery coach guide is much softer in its language, stating qualifications are “recommended”. In both cases, the profile is the same: tertiary qualifications in peer work or mental health (minimum of Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work or Certificate IV in Mental Health) and/or a minimum two years of experience in mental health-related work.


Who will be funded for recovery coaching?

Participants with a primary diagnosis of psychosocial disability can request for this support to be put in their plan if it meets the reasonable and necessary criteria. Recovery coaching is not currently available to participants who have psychosocial disability as their secondary diagnosis.

In a recent webinar, the Agency said that participants who are eligible for recovery coaching can already begin using their support coordination funding towards it. If the person has funding available, there is no need to wait until plan review time.


How many hours will people be funded for?

This will always be an individual decision. Anecdotally, we have started to see recovery coaching included people’s plans with around 90 to 100 hours, which is more hours than we tend to see for support coordination. But the NDIA have been clear that there are no minimum or maximum hours for recovery coaching and that will be based on an individual’s need.


Are many organisations planning to provide recovery coaching?

Right now, it is not clear is whether there is a sufficient market to provide the support. We are yet to see if service providers consider the unit price of $80.10 viable given breadth of requirements of the role. Especially when compared to the $100.14 price limit for Coordination of Supports.

The NDIA psychosocial recovery document also highlights the importance of supervision. There is no question that supervision and reflective practice with will be crucial in delivering quality recovery coaching supports, but it is costly.  On top of that, a minimum 20 hours of ‘formal and informal’ learning activities has been recommended.

Recovery coaching is a really exciting new support available for people with psychosocial disability.  We hope to see the market grow in this area- hopefully the unit price won’t put providers off!


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