Occupational Therapy in Mental Health Settings

Written by Swift Health Updated 3 years ago

You could seek out occupational therapy (OT) services for a wide variety of symptoms, such as life events, or experiences. Oftentimes, people consider OT services to be in specific contexts, such as a school, communities, or rehabilitation However, OT services can be anything in between, too. For example, you may not initially consider an OT being involved in a mental health setting. Nevertheless, OT’s can be very beneficial in mental health recovery, and you may be interested in learning more about why this may be.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy is a realm of health-science that integrates holistic and creative approaches to everyday life. The goal of OT is to enhance overall participation in meaningful activities. Importantly, OT goals can be achieved through evaluating the interaction between a client’s personal factors, preferences, environments, performance skills, and performance patterns. (Performance skills are things like motor, process, social interaction skills, while performance patterns are your individual habits, routines, and roles.) In other words, OTs can help solve problems that may interfere with a person’s ability to do the things that are important to them.

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists: What is an OT?
Questions About Occupational Therapy

How is Occupational Therapist qualified for Mental Health settings?

Occupational therapists have a unique background that emphasizes that no one factor of an interaction is more important than the other. That is to say that the person, the environment, and the occupation itself all have important roles in care. By having this approach, OTs will set goals, implement strategies, and help develop a positive routine to implement meaningful occupations into patient’s lives. Therefore, OTs are in a unique position to be able to effectively evaluate and compensate/remediate all aspects of performance in a specific activity.

CAOT Position: Occupational Therapy and Mental Health

What can OTs do in Mental Health?

Occupational therapists can help in many aspects of holistic mental health. Occupational therapists can use their specific skillset to evaluate and provide feedback regarding certain life transitions, events, or other life events.

  •  For example, an individual with major depression may not be able to manage their household care on their own. Therefore, they may benefit from learning more basic and safe methods to caring for their home to increase their independence.
  • Another example could be someone who was recently discharged from an inpatient psychology unit and would like to return to work. However, they may need assistance to change some of their daily routines and habits to reduce triggers around returning to work.

Occupational therapists can assist in both of these scenarios, and more. Some examples for realms of treatment are outlined below, although not exhaustive:

  • Create groups for social support
  • Provide strategies
  • Educate on surroundings
  • Evaluate discharge planning
  • Address safety and self-efficacy

CAOT: Mental Health - Fact Sheet

Where can I find an OT in Mental Health?

Occupational therapists can be a in a verity of settings, and can be seen through private or public services. Most OT services can be found through calling your primary care provider, who can direct you further.

  • Healthcare-based facilities
  • Schools
  • Military installations
  • Community-based mental health centers
  • Private Community Occupational Therapy Providers (Like Us: Swift Health)

OT Services At Swift Health

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