Mental Health & Occupational Therapy

Mental Health & Occupational Therapy

The ongoing impacts of the pandemic have caused significant disruption for many Australians and managing your mental health during this time of change and uncertainty can be an ongoing challenge.

Importance of Mental Health

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood.

Mental illness varies from person to person and can include depression, anxiety, psychosis, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress and personality disorders.

According to Australia’s Health 2020 report, 1 in 5 Australians reported that they had a mental or behavioural condition.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well-being through occupation.

Life is made up of meaningful everyday activities or occupations such as walking the dog, gardening, preparing a meal, painting, doing the laundry and playing games. Occupations are part of life; they describe who we are and how we feel about ourselves. When we can’t participate in daily occupations, due to injury, illness, disabilities or social and environmental circumstances, occupational therapists help find solutions to address the meaningful everyday activities of life.

Occupational therapy also helps manage disability or illness and enhances the way we participate in our communities and lives.

Put simply, the primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life.

How do Occupational Therapists Help?

Occupational therapy recognises that everyday occupational engagement influences mental and physical health and vice versa.

Occupational therapists believe that occupational performance, organisation, choice, and satisfaction are determined by the relationship between persons and their environment. They approach mental health with the unique perspective that considers a person’s needs within context of family and community.

What do Occupational Therapists do?

  •  Work with clients and their families to identify the occupations and activities that are important for family and personal life.
  • Help to plan, initiate and track short and long term goals that enable participation in those activities.
  • Help replace unhealthy activities with healthy, meaningful activities.
  • Assess skills, interests, values, and strengths in order to help clients maintain, modify or find appropriate employment.
  • Implement activities that teach valuable skills e.g. social skills training with a peer support group.
  • Help structure lives and organize daily activities so that clients can balance everything they want, need or are expected to do.