I received this promo video created by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Occupational Therapist. They did a great job of capture what occupational therapy focuses on and how it can support individual with a variety of needs.
Occupational therapist work in all areas of health care. One of the areas often overlooked is Mental Health. Just as the folks in this video who have physical impairments require support to learn strategies that allow them to take care of themselves, bath, prepare meals, etc. Adults, teens and children with metal health issues struggle with similar difficulties with hygiene, self-care, getting out and accessing services in the community. The reason for the difficulty may differ, but occupational therapist still focus on helping individuals overcome boundaries to “do” life.
Mental health is everywhere. It affects everyone. Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague. The following is taken from CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association)
- 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
- Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
- Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
- About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).
So this is just a reminder that the services required by people with mental health issues are just as valid and needed as those used by persons with physical impairment. We often don’t see it that way. It seems much easier to empathize with someone with an amputation, or with a degenerative disease, compare to someone with a mood disorder.
This cartoon makes me giggle in a sad way. It is so true that we often view mental illness through a very different lens than physical ailments. So here is reminder that no matter what the reason for the difficulties the people around us face, let’s look at focusing on providing services, solutions and enable folks to live physically and mentally healthy lives.