The NDIS is an absolute mess. What do I say to the people I support and the providers I work with?

Good morning readers and welcome to another sunny blog from yours truly. I know there will be people out there who resonate with this blog deeply. I hope I can provide you with a little practical help and make your lives even a little bit easier. 

A scary reality is starting to slap me in the face, firstly because I am experiencing it personally, and secondly because I am the owner of a Facebook Page that has 4000 Support Coordinators and Recovery Coach members.
We are not okay.
I am truly concerned and worried that the pressure of working in a system as broken as the NDIS, is going to push people over the edge. I personally am starting to wind down to having a break and work in a way that maintains my own mental health. I am also lucky enough to have some choices. Don't get me wrong, I have had to make some pretty heartbreaking decisions to allow myself the space and time to get my head together, but the fact is, I could take a little from Column A, to top up Column B, so I could make the decision to protect my mental health in the long term. 

Some people do not have a choice, some colleagues are living week to week and do not have savings or other realistic options they can take, to ensure that when their mental health finally breaks down, they can just toddle off and have a little holiday away from it all.  Many of us are going to be forced to work ourselves into complete despair and the outcome of that should be of concern to everyone who could be doing something about the mess that is the NDIS. (That is definitely a new blog for me to write)
I would go so far to say that this is a very specific and very confined, mental health epidemic. It is becoming spoken about so openly across our various communication platforms, that it is not just a few people who are having a bad day. This is seriously affecting people's well-being. 
Every day on my page someone is posting about how they are crumbling under the pressure.  The pressure of working in a totally broken system and being in a role where you are the middle man, you are the person everyone relies on to get things done or explain what is happening. However, there is no way to simply explain what the hell is going on in the NDIS right now. We all just end up being the target of very (rightfully) upset and distraught participants, providers, family members and anyone else who happens to be involved.

Every day on other pages I am a member of, it is the same thing.

The NDIS backlog, PACE - the stupidest and most broken system in the world, the indifferent and incompetent staff, the decision-making from the agency that seems to be based on what they all decided at the water cooler that morning after hearing something on television.
The watching A Current Affair to see a woman systematically abused over multiple years by the same three carers and all they got was a slap on the wrist and a tiny little ban for a couple of years from working in the NDIS again.
And it is no wonder that people are not doing okay. This is not just a little hiccup here, a participant angry at me there, this is constant, and it does not let up. Day in, day out we are being bombarded with systemic failures, anger from providers who think we are not doing our jobs, distraught participants who are at major risk of harm, families of those participants in despair.
Every day without fail I come across 3-4 providers who should not be working in this sector, yet not only are they working in it, but they are also thriving, they are ripping off the government and participants alike, and they are clueless as to why they should stop.
Every day I am seeing "Business Consultants" running seminars where they spruik that the most successful way to run a business is to treat participants like they are a "system", a one size fits all approach if you will.
I could go on forever and I probably will! For today however I aim to help. I want to bring real, practical help to you that you can use to hopefully help minimise some of your stress and point the finger of blame exactly where it deserves to be pointed, the NDIS.
I love to talk, I love to write, and I love to think about the way I communicate things to others, writing and talking are my thing. So here are some of the things I have thought about that you can say when you are being told you are not doing your job properly, or you are the problem. It is just something small, but sometimes when you are lost for words or you are feeling like it really is all your fault, having some key phrases ready to go, not only ensures you are not copping the blame for something you didn't do, but starts to retrain your brain to accept that this is not you, it's them ('Them,' being the NDIS).
Remember, once you tell your brain something enough times, it believes it and the only way to change that is to tell it something different, so wake up each morning and come back to this blog and read these words again and again.

Here are some ways you can try to explain what is going on.
Addressing providers:
"We empathise with the frustration you're experiencing and can understand why you might feel like I am not undertaking my role to an acceptable benchmark. It's important to acknowledge that while we strive to help everyone we support, the primary responsibility for addressing these issues lies with the NDIS. We share your concerns and are actively advocating for necessary improvements within the system."
"The blame and frustration directed towards Support Coordinators amid the NDIS backlog are understandable, as there is a common misunderstanding that we hold a lot more power in NDIS processes than we actually do. However, it's crucial to recognise that the root cause of these challenges lies within the NDIS itself. While we're committed to supporting our participants, our ability to expedite processes is extremely limited by systemic failures within the NDIS framework. We advise that everyone who has been impacted by any kind of poor service or support, make a written complaint to the NDIS, we are logging all complaints also, of which there are many”.
"We understand the anger and frustration towards Support Coordinators stemming from the NDIS backlog. We have no control over the way the NDIS chooses to conduct itself and we are facing the same barriers that everyone else is. It's important to communicate that while we're dedicated to supporting participants, the systemic issues within the NDIS are beyond our control. We're committed to trying to achieve the best outcomes and support for those we work with; unfortunately the NDIS is making that impossible for us to do at this current time."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
"We share your concerns about the impact of the NDIS backlog on participants and providers alike. It's essential to acknowledge that Support Coordinators are facing unprecedented challenges due to systemic failures within the NDIS. While we navigate these difficulties alongside you, we are unable to rectify them, or provide any clear guidance on timelines or outcomes. This is due to the NDIS being unable to provide us with any accurate or timely information about the barriers that are being experienced by everyone who is required to communicate with them."
"The frustration and blame directed towards Support Coordinators amid the NDIS backlog is certainly acknowledged, and we understand the impact these challenges have on participants. It's important to convey that while we're here to support participants to the highest standard, the responsibility for addressing systemic failures lies with the NDIS. More often than not, our hands are tied and the responses from the NDIS are either incorrect, or non-existent. We are currently unable to state any time frames of give clear guidance on when tasks can be actioned if the NDIS is involved. We're actively advocating for necessary improvements within the system to better support participants, but we are facing the same challenges, and your understanding is appreciated."
Communicating with participants:
"We understand your frustration with the NDIS backlog and want to assure you that we're doing everything within our power to support you. We hope you know that we are trying our best while facing unprecedented challenges when dealing with the NDIS right now and we request that you understand that the primary responsibility for rectifying these ongoing barriers lies with the NDIS. We are currently unable to carry out our roles effectively. We're deeply sorry for the impact this has on you."
"The frustration directed towards Support Coordinators, amid the NDIS backlog is understandable. While we're here to support you, it's crucial to acknowledge that the root cause of these challenges lies within the NDIS itself. We are trying our best to have your support needs treated as a priority, which they are. We would like to let you know that we are facing unprecedented challenges in trying to carry out our roles effectively and this is now significantly impacting on the people we support, we are upset and angry at the way the NDIS is treating people on the scheme, and we are trying our best to overcome these challenges in any way we can, but we are finding our ability to do that is very limited."
"We share your concerns about the impact of the NDIS backlog on your support and well-being.  Support Coordinators are facing unprecedented challenges due to systemic failures within the NDIS. While we navigate these difficulties, please know that we're committed to trying to support you as best we can, but in many cases our hands are tied, and we are not receiving any appropriate responses from the NDIS when trying to support participants or convey the urgency of their needs."
"The anger and resentment stemming from the NDIS backlog is valid, and we understand the impacts it has on your life. We are finding that most of the people we work with are facing overwhelming stress and frustration due to this. We are so sorry for the challenges you are facing right now and the detrimental effect it might be having on you day to day. We are facing a different set of challenges as Support Coordinators, and we are unable to successfully navigate our roles in an effective way right now.  We understand your frustration and we respectfully hope that you will understand that the systemic failures lie with the NDIS and any perception of us being unable to do our role in an effective way, stems from that. We're deeply sorry for the impact this has on you."
"We understand your frustration with the NDIS backlog and want to assure you that we're doing everything we can to assist you. Support Coordinators are facing challenges due to systemic failures within the NDIS. We're actively advocating for necessary improvements within the system, and we acknowledge the deeply unsettling way that the NDIS is currently delivering its support. We respectfully ask for your understanding when working with your coordinator as they are trying the best that they can, to overcome these challenges on your behalf. Unfortunately, we are finding that the NDIS is unresponsive to our demands for urgency or high need right now. Although we understand and agree that this is unacceptable and dangerous on their behalf, we are unable to respond to this effectively due to the insurmountable barriers that the NDIS has put up in trying to communicate with them.”

To wrap it up - your empathy, guilt,  and compassion is making you feel like you should be doing more.  All of the outside noise, providers sending you angry emails, participants feeling like you are letting them down, the NDIS gaslighting you into believing you are terrible at your job, that is another layer and impacts heavily on your mental health.

This is not something we have control over. Your mental health is more important than trying to fix something that you literally have no way to fix. All you can do is remind those around you, and remind yourself, that you are doing the best you can and the days when people may feel like you are not doing the best you can (including you) read these suggestions above and just remember you are not a miracle worker. You are a person working under a broken government system and your hands are tied. 

Please try to stop blaming yourself, this is not your fault.

If you need help with your mental health please reach out to the following services:

Lifeline | 13 11 14 | Web Chat | Text 0477 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service | 1300 659 467 |  

Beyond Blue | 1300 22 4636|   

MensLine Australia | 1300 78 99 78 |