Occupational Therapy Month: Mental Health

Occupational Therapy Month: Mental Health

“M” is for mental health!

As discussed in earlier letters of the alphabet, OTs work with a variety of diagnoses, some of which include mental health. OTs can work with individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD, and addictions, among countless others. OTs who work with these populations can work in community-based settings, in-patient settings, psychiatric hospitals, or prisons.

Even though some OTs specialize in the mental health field, because our continuum of care services is so broad, OTs in all settings may work with individuals with mental health diagnoses. OTs always view clients holistically; therefore, it is our responsibility to address mental health issues during treatment, if applicable.

For example, consider an individual who just had a stroke. He/she has lost significant independence in many occupations, including independently dressing, cooking, and playing tennis. An OT will teach them compensatory techniques for dressing, provide adaptive equipment for cooking and tennis in addition to addressing mental health issues that has recently developed because of the sudden change independence levels. If the individual is demonstrating signs of depression, we address it. If the individual is showing signs of anxiety to return home, we address it. What ever is happening “up there”, we can address it!

Mental health has effected everyone’s life in some shape or form whether directly or indirectly. OTs always treat clients holistically; therefore, it is an important aspect of our role as health care professionals.

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