This September/October, AJOT is running a special issue to explore the effectiveness of occupational therapy for mental health.
Occupational Therapy has strong roots in mental health care, and looks to be making a resurgence in this area of practice.
D’Amico, M. L., Jaffe, L. E., & Gardner, J. A. (2018). Evidence for interventions to improve and maintain occupational performance and participation for people with serious mental illness: A systematic review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72(5), 7205190020p1-7205190020p11.
500 Million people in the world experience mental health problems. Put to scale, that’s basically the population of all of North America. Further, in many parts of the world mental health issues are on the rise, due in part to inadequate treatment.
Occupational therapists have a lot to offer - but it’s argued that we don’t often have sufficient evidence for out treatments to rouse the support of healthcare funders and insurers.
Organizations like AOTA are making headway by providing solid research to investigate OT based mental health care.
Systematic review using the AOTA Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Project methodology
Included 61 studies from 2008-2016 (39 Level I studies were used)
5 major themes identified:
Strong support for the use of occupation-based interventions to improve ADL, IADLs and social participation. (Examples programs: Life Adaptations Skills Training (LAST), Social Inclusion Program (SIP))
Strong evidence for use of manualized psychoeducational interventions for ADL/IADLs
Moderate support for using leisure based interventions
Moderate support for using occupation-based approaches to improve sleep and rest
Insufficient evidence for animal-assisted therapies
Mixed evidence for skills training
Mixed evidence for cognition-based interventions
Every year many Level I studies look into the effects of occupation-specific interventions for mental health - and high quality evidence continues to build.
Occupation-based interventions have generally proved effective across-the-board when compared with treatment as usual.
Strong evidence already exists to support practice in mental health, and you have a solid evidence base to lean on in this area. So you can be confident to go out there and get at it!
The Elevate OT Team
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