Blog written by Madeline Gardner, Occupational Therapist, specializing in mental health.
Mental health affects all clients, and regardless of your discipline, it can impact the therapeutic process. Mental health is not simply a lack of mental illness, so it’s important to consider if your clients are mentally flourishing.
Truly listen to your clients. You may be able to provide recommendations that are within your scope of practice, or a referral may be necessary.
- What are they saying that may be indicative of their mental well-being?
- Do they speak of feeling lonely or isolated?
- Lacking motivation?
- Anxious about managing their health condition?
- Are they having difficulty adjusting to life with a disability?
Some examples to address mental wellness include:
- Incorporating stress management or relaxation techniques
- Mindfulness practice
- Gratitude journaling
- Learning healthy coping mechanisms
- Or just providing a listening ear
If mental health seems to be a significant barrier or if you suspect an undiagnosed mental illness, a referral to a mental health professional (counselor/LCSW) or PCP is necessary. Also consider a referral to occupational therapy, as OTs can be a great resource to address daily routines, health promotion strategies, and activity modification to improve participation and enhance quality of life.
*If you have concerns about the safety of your client, get help immediately. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number: 1-800-273-8255
Find helpful resources at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-someone-else/ about how and when to help others who may be going through a crisis.