At BREVIN, as in public sector community mental health teams, the ultimate goal of treatment is to improve clients’ ability to function and return to leading as normal a life as is possible for them. Occupational therapists are therefore an essential part of any CMHT, as they work with clients on whatever everyday activities are most pertinent to their recovery.
We know that mental illness can have a significant impact on even the most basic of these functions - washing, dressing, eating and cleaning can all fall by the wayside, never mind social and leisure pursuits, or work and education. Regaining control of these normal day-to-day activities is vital for rebuilding clients’ health and wellbeing, but may initially feel impossible. So, in a community mental health team, the role of the occupational therapist is to support the client to find safe, structured strategies to approach these challenges one step at a time.
An occupational therapist will work closely with their client, and the rest of the team, to work out which activities are most important to them and their recovery, and what they currently can and cannot do. They may be able to make practical suggestions - such as technology, equipment, or adaptations to the client’s home or work environment - or work with them on strategies to overcome their difficulties, rebuild their confidence, and become more independent. They may also help clients to find hobbies or interests they enjoy, which support their overall goals.
In some cases, this support will be offered one-to-one in the form of advice and collaborative goal-setting. In others, occupational therapists may provide group educational programmes, treatments or classes to work on key skills like assertiveness, stress management, and social or interpersonal skills. Occupational therapists can also provide advice and guidance around employment, and liaise with a client’s existing employer to make appropriate adaptations so they are properly supported in the workplace.
Ultimately, an occupational therapist will support their client - at a pace that’s appropriate for them - to develop more effective daily routines, engage or re-engage with hobbies and interests, and build a sense of purpose and self-esteem. This work, alongside that of the rest of the CMHT, is essential for supporting the client’s return to a healthier and more normal quality of life.
Brevin’s team of community psychiatric nurses, consultant psychiatrists and psychological wellbeing practitioners can help.
Find out how Brevin can help you at home, whether you have been discharged as an inpatient, or your mental health is deteriorating as an outpatient.
If you can't find out the information you need. please call us on 0203 941 2000