By McKay, Elizabeth Anne
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Additional info for Advancing occupational therapy in mental health practice
After a short time in a lecturing post, I returned to mental health, and there I remained. Being an occupational therapist in mental health has never disappointed me. Despite the frustrations of different work settings and practices and constant changes there is something quite comforting about knowing my profession has a significant role to play in enhancing the lives of people who experience mental health difficulties. In preparing this chapter, I reflected on where I am today, my motivations and, in particular, my interest in policy and its influence over practice and the development of the profession.
Significantly, occupational therapists have played an influencing role in legislation; the revision of Mental Health Act (1983). Originally there was to be a new Mental Health Bill, but owing to robust opposition and lobbying from interested parties in the mental health field, the government decided to revise the existing act. Linked to this, are the proposed new roles of approved mental health practitioner (AMHP) and the clinical supervisor (likely to be called the responsible clinician). Under the Mental Health Act (1983) compulsory detention of people with mental health problems requires a decision to be made by two medical officers and an approved social worker (ASW).
Earlier, Robdale (2004) had commented that the profession needs to grab this opportunity to re-involve itself in this core area of practice and to develop vocational specialists. The government, being committed to reducing the number of people with mental health problems on Incapacity Benefits (Department for Work and Pensions, 2006), is encouraging mental health services to support people with severe and enduring mental health problems to access vocational and employment opportunities (DH, 2006).
Advancing occupational therapy in mental health practice by McKay, Elizabeth Anne