Mental Health Occupational Therapy: Main Goals & Benefits

Mental Health Occupational Therapy

Mental health occupational therapy is a form of healthcare that focuses on helping individuals with mental illness or disabilities achieve their maximum level of independence.

Through activities, interventions, and other therapeutic techniques, occupational therapists help those struggling with mental health issues to improve their quality of life. There are several goals and benefits to receiving this treatment.

What Is Occupational Therapy In Mental Health?

Mental Health Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy treats people individually or in groups using numerous techniques that increase the person’s involvement in roles, routines, and habits at home, work, and socially. 

Each patient is thoroughly evaluated while considering different criteria such as religion, beliefs, lifestyle, age, mental and sensory abilities, and motor and cognitive functioning.

The occupational therapist works with the patient to promote, establish, or restore abilities to participate actively in daily activities.

Mental health OT also helps to prevent potential barriers to participation in desired activities.

What Do Mental Health Occupational Therapists Do?

Mental Health Occupational Therapy

To assist patients in comprehending and managing their everyday functions, occupational therapists (OTs) who specialize in mental health use a variety of psychological and occupational therapy modalities.

Anxiety, depression, and other severe and complicated mental health illnesses can be helped by mental health occupational therapists, as can those who are coping with adverse life situations like grieving and adjustment, emotions, stress, and parenthood.

After conducting an occupational therapy assessment in mental health, these professionals can aid children battling medical and learning disorders and developmental issues.

An OT looks at what is affecting someone’s functioning based on their symptoms, coping mechanisms, or medical needs. This determines what treatment is used to help them adapt and operate effectively.

What Are The Main Issues Occupational Therapy Can Help With?

Mental Health Occupational Therapy

The role of occupational therapy in mental health

 is to take a therapeutic approach to a patient’s everyday activities.

Patients can develop or improve abilities needed to execute daily tasks while developing their skills through cognitive adaptation and remediation. 

Mental Health Disorders

Bipolar, schizophrenia, and dementia are one of the many mental health conditions treated with occupational therapy. Using various techniques, patients are encouraged to employ skills through playing cards, cooking, cleaning, or doing creative arts.

The rehabilitation process focuses on pragmatic and social adaptation, verbal and non-verbal expression, and a range of skills for independent living.

Developmental Disorders

Occupational therapy treats intellectual disability and pervasive developmental disorders that impair cognition, behavior, language, and communication.

The therapy improves motor skills, visual perception, and social, emotional, and cognitive functioning. Sensory techniques help the patient calmly process their environment and awareness.

Injuries And Disease

Injuries, birth defects, orthopedic conditions, cancer, amputations, strokes, and cerebral palsy are some of the conditions that occupational therapy can benefit from.

From reducing pain to improving functioning, OT can help establish appropriate goals based on the patient’s symptoms.

What Are The Main Goals Of Occupational Therapy?

Mental Health Occupational Therapy

Goals may vary for each patient based on their reasons for treatment, but they generally include the following:


Educational programs, experiential learning, and treatment groups or classes address key issues such as assertiveness, self-awareness, interpersonal skills, and stress management.


Self-care includes providing training in daily living activities such as grooming and hygiene, managing the home, and taking medication. It also focuses on barriers to self-care, such as lack of motivation or ability.

Mobility And Strength

Training and rehab methods can enhance strength and range of motion. It includes fine motor skills like tying shoelaces and holding pens and gross motor skills like walking and balance.

Overall Well-Being

A patient’s overall well-being is important, and helping to develop, restore, or enhance mental, emotional, physical, and social abilities to improve everyday living is a primary objective in occupational therapy.  

What Are The Benefits Of Occupational Therapy In Mental Health?

Mental Health Occupational Therapy

Disruptive symptoms in a patient’s life caused by their mental illness may not respond to medication and talk therapy. This is where the advantages of occupational therapy come into play.

Independent Living

By restoring the ability to perform daily tasks as independently as possible, they can engage in instrumental activities that promote an independent and productive life.

Improves Cognitive Function 

By identifying difficulties with cognition and their impact on everyday skills, occupational therapists can focus on developing weaknesses. This is achieved through activities that require organization, attention, problem-solving, and reasoning.

Enhances Visual Ability

Changes in vision can occur for whatever reason, which affects a person’s confidence and capacity to walk or read. Occupational therapy can teach visual adaptive techniques and aids to improve visual performance and processing.

Social Skills And Communication

Social skills are essential for managing mental health issues. Education on social behavior, using and reading verbal and non-verbal cues, responding with appropriate language, and understanding what information to disclose form part of improving communication.

Reduces Stress And Anxiety

Coping mechanisms help manage symptoms of stress and anxiety. Deep breathing, meditation, and guided visualization are all methods that people can employ to enhance their capacity to function in society.

Boosted Support

Occupational therapists can be a big support to the patient and their family by approaching treatment holistically with an emphasis on the whole person rather than on separate functional aspects. The concern of occupational therapists is how you are adjusting and coping.

Home Modifications

Occupational therapists frequently help individuals and families make modifications in the home that helps with day-to-day activities. 

To increase their capacity to function at home, a person with a disability may require specialized equipment. The therapist may also suggest a specific design to maximize the use of the space.

Where Can You Get Occupational Therapy? 

Mental Health Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists who are knowledgeable and kind can assist you in making meaningful objectives so that you can maximize your freedom and quality of life.

Their skill set covers both cognitive and physical difficulties, which OTs evaluate and weigh for potential effects on functional abilities.

Ask your doctor to recommend an occupational therapist to you, contact the local hospital or rehabilitation centers, or use online search tools to find a good clinician based on proximity, specialization, or cost.

Ask about their experience as it relates to your objectives. For example, the therapist may have a lot of expertise working with physical disabilities but little knowledge of children’s behavioral management techniques.

Also read: TMS Therapy Vs ECT: Which Is Better?