Mental Health Services
Occupational therapists in mental health services work in a variety of settings including inpatient units, outpatient services, community-based services and day programs.
Primarily, the clients are adults diagnosed with a mental illness however; new programs have been developed to service children and adolescents who are experiencing mental health crises and/or symptoms of a mental illness for the first time. Occupational therapists address self-care needs, leisure interests, and productivity-based goals with these clients. In an inpatient setting, occupational therapists act as members of a multi-disciplinary team. They work with the client and the team to assess areas of occupational performance and make recommendations for discharge planning.
How OT’s Help
Examples would include assessing the client’s ability to safely prepare meals, manage finances or his/her level of involvement in work/school related activities. Follow-up of identified concerns may be addressed in the inpatient setting, or referral to an appropriate outpatient service may be made. Outpatient and community-based mental health services may include individual support/counseling, case management activities, or the provision of activity-based programs directed at productivity and/or leisure goals of the client. The occupational therapist may work autonomously or as a member of a team in the areas of stress management, accessing community resources and independent living skills. Occupational therapists may work as case managers, providing the client with the necessary supports they need to maintain community living. Work and work-related activities tend to be a major focus for many services also. Clients may attend activity programs to meet their productivity needs. There are also community-based employment programs such as West Lane (Corner Brook region) that are available to provide meaningful work opportunities for clients with mental illness.