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Occupational Therapy’s Distinct Value in Mental Health

Occupational therapy’s distinct value is to improve health and quality of life through facilitating participation and engagement in occupations, the meaningful, necessary, and familiar activities of everyday life. Occupational therapy is client-centered, achieves positive outcomes, and is cost-effective.

Occupational therapy practitioners working in diverse practice areas (e.g., hospitals, schools, home care) with persons of all ages can use the mental health distinct value document to support their work in mental health promotion, prevention, and intensive interventions. The document reflects the aim of occupational therapy services in mental health, which is to help all individuals develop and maintain positive mental health, prevent mental ill health, and recover from mental health challenges in order to live full and productive lives. It highlights how interventions address all aspects of clients’ lives.

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Occupational therapy practitioners could use this document as a small-group learning tool to promote knowledge translation and build their capacity to strategically address the mental health needs of clients served in their setting. Knowledge translation is fostered when practitioners come together to read, reflect, and discuss the sound application of best available evidence.

This document includes descriptions of services at each of the major tiers, information about the mental health continuum and everyday functioning, and a table of tiered services that reflect exemplary practice, model programs, and more.