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Mental Health and OT

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Occupational Therapy has a rich history of promoting mental health in all areas of practice through the use of meaningful and enjoyable occupations (Meyer, 1922). The aim of occupational therapy services in mental health is to help all individuals develop and maintain positive mental health, prevent mental ill health, and recover from mental health challenges in order to live full and productive lives (AOTA, 2016).

The actual "doing" of occupations is believed to be transformative, promoting adaptation, creating personal and social identities, connecting people to their communities, and enabling ongoing personal growth and development. (Krupa, Fossey, Anthony, Brown & Pitts, 2009, p. 156). An occupational therapy preventative lifestyle intervention, Lifestyle Redesign, was shown to promote mental well-being with older adults living in the community (Clark et al., 2012).

Occupational therapy practitioners, with an in depth knowledge of both physical and mental health, are distinctly qualified to provide integrated care to address a person's functioning in a variety of occupations (e.g. education, work, leisure, ADLs, social and community participation) using occupation-based psychosocial, self-management, and environmental interventions.

Focus of OT services:

  • Engagement in occupation to foster recovery and/or "reclaiming mental health" resulting in optimal levels of community participation, daily functioning, and quality of life

  • Functional assessment and Intervention (skills training, accommodations, compensatory strategies)

  • Identification and implementation of healthy habits, rituals, and routines to support wellness

  • Social skills and friendship promotion groups

  • Community reintegration (recreation, leisure, work)

  • Normative life roles

  • Evaluation and Intervention of Executive Functioning

  • Sensory strategies

  • Supported employment, supported education

  • Cognitive behavioral strategies

  • Trauma-informed care

  • Motivational Interviewing

  • Intensive behavioral interventions

  • Environmental Modifications to enhance participation

  • Modification of tasks and/or expectations

  • Strategies for enhancing coping skills and social and emotional competencies

Our occupational therapists at Home Connection Therapy have a wide range of experience in various rehabilitation settings, case management in psychiatry, case management in motor vehicle and work injury rehabilitation, leading therapeutic small group interventions, and home-health care. Reach out for more information about HCT's home-based OT services.

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68 (Supplement 1), S1–S48.

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2016). Occupational Therapy's Distinct Value: Mental Health Promotion, Prevention, and Intervention, Across the Lifespan.

Clark, F., Jackson, J., Carlson, M., Chou, C., Cherry, B. J., Jordan-Marsh, M. ... , Azen, S. P. (2012). Effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention in promoting the well-being of independently living older people: Results of the Well Elderly 2 Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 66, 782–790.

Krupa, T., Fossey, E., Anthony, W. A., Brown, C., & Pitts, D. B. (2009). Doing daily life: How occupational therapy can inform psychiatric rehabilitation practice. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 32, 155–161.

Meyer, A. (1922). The philosophy of occupational therapy. Archives of Occupational Therapy, 1, 1–10.

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