OT and participation for people with serious mental illness

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.

Today's Paper
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.

The Problem
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.

The Study

  • 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:

    • Occupation-based interventions

    • Psychoeducation

    • Skills training

    • Cognition-based interventions

    • Technology-supported interventions

The Results

  1. 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))

  2. Strong evidence for use of manualized psychoeducational interventions for ADL/IADLs

  3. Moderate support for using leisure based interventions

  4. Moderate support for using occupation-based approaches to improve sleep and rest

  5. Insufficient evidence for animal-assisted therapies

  6. Mixed evidence for skills training

  7. 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

OT Specific education and resources to help you save time, be evidence based, and deliver great patient care.

More Good Stuff (Recent Blog Posts)

Framed In

Not Jack...or Jill

Occupational Audit

If you like this blog and want to support our work, please share it with your friends and consider buying our evidence based OT tools or educational courses:

Falls Prevention Pack

Energy Conservation Pack

Sleep Intervention Pack

Educational Courses

To keep the conversation going, reach out to us online:
Twitter: @elevate_OT
Facebook: Elevate OT
Email us: The Elevate Team admin@elevateot.com