Occupational Therapy and Adult Mental Health

In Singapore there is often the perception that Occupational Therapy is for children who are facing developmental challenges or as part of hospital-based rehabilitation for the elderly. It can certainly play an important role in these areas, but it is so much more. Occupational Therapy as a profession actually has its roots in mental health, it developed in the UK from enabling soldiers to return to meaningful life after injuries and trauma from World War 1. It then expanded to cover all areas of physical and mental health. In fact, any area where our function is affected could be improved by working with an Occupational Therapist.

We look holistically at function – what people do for work, leisure and productivity (e.g. activities of daily living, self-care, household tasks) and how the challenges they are facing affect this. The focus of Occupational Therapy in any clinical area is to assist clients to participate in daily living as independently as possible.

So, what does this look like within mental health? Here are SACAC we are looking at:

  • How low mood can impact work, leisure and home life and strategies to move forward in these areas
  • How activity can be used to improve motivation and confidence to do what is important to you in life
  • How workplace challenges and stress can be managed
  • How responsibilities like caring for a loved one impact wellbeing and mental health
  • How stress or anxiety may impact how you feel and what you do day to day
  • How activity can be utilized as a coping mechanism

    For every client there is an assessment process where we explore a wide range of holistic factors to gain a clear understanding of the challenges they are facing and what is meaningful for them.
    Factors considered include:
  1. Values, beliefs, spirituality, mental function, sensory function
  2. Physical skills (motor processing)
  3. Social interaction skills
  4. The environment or context you are functioning in
  5. Habits, routines and roles
  6. Barriers to participation in desired activities


    Perryman-Fox M, Cox DL, 2020. Occupational Therapy in the United Kingdom: Past, Present and Future. Annals of International Occupational Therapy, Vol 3, No 2.

    Written by:
    Jennie Bhangu
    Occupational Therapist
    SACAC Counselling

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