Occupational therapy (OT) is the art and science of enabling people to perform the occupations that foster health and well-being. Accordingly, OT practice is a core component of an integrated mental health system. This month, the contributions of Occupational Therapists (OTs) across the country are being celebrated. Here are 10 ways that OTs support the mental health of individuals, families, and communities:
- Promote Occupation: OTs help others to identify and engage in activities that are meaningful to them, in order to promote and restore positive mental wellbeing. This includes helping people find and maintain employment.
- Share Resources: Canada is a country with a broad range of programs and services for persons to access. OTs act as facilitators to inform and connect clients with supports in key areas that influence mental health including housing, financial support and food access.
- Teach Skills: OTs teach skills that empower people to feel confident managing their own well-being. They may teach skills in the areas of coping, home management, and/or self-advocacy, to name a few. One example is CMHA’s Living Life to the Full course.
- Impact Public Policy: OTs help to construct and revise policy to promote positive mental health and well being.
- Adapt: Sometimes adaptations to tasks and/or environments are needed to make them a “better fit” with the person. OTs may work with clients, employers, and other key organizations to make the small changes that have a big impact.
- Support Families: OTs can support and care for families of those affected by mental illness.
- Contribute to Mental Health Research: OTs are researchers too! OTs work to evaluate existing programs and answer new questions to help the mental health sector advance knowledge in mental health promotion and intervention.
- Advocate: OTs fight for those that may experience barriers in fighting for themselves!
- Create New Programs/Services: OTs act as entrepreneurs, working within private and public sectors to create and implement new programs that support the mental wellbeing of persons and groups.
- Provide Hope: OTs can show that even in challenging times, there is help available and things can change.
Learn more about OT Month on the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists website.