Introducing occupational therapy to APL health
What is it?
Occupational therapy can often be an unacknowledged and misunderstood profession. For some, it is still viewed as the old fashioned ‘basket weaving’ or simply just handing out the odd walking frame.
This is not the case!
Occupational therapists are evolving into new, role-emerging areas that are relevant to government policy. For example, the current ‘Improving lives, saving money’ campaign aims to reduce expenditure on the NHS and other care services by keeping people out of hospital, reducing pressure on primary care and over-reliance on social care. The campaign demonstrates how relevant support is important for the health and wellbeing of people today and future generations.
Occupational therapists provide life changing support to a wide range of people from an array of different backgrounds. An occupation refers to any activity that a person does daily. The therapist focuses on this to guide personalised, client-centred interventions.
With a natural passion to help others, and compassion to improve the lives of individuals, it is not surprising that occupational therapists are progressing beyond traditional health and social care roles. The knowledge they possess allows them to move comfortably into different areas of care, whether that is addressing homelessness, obesity or the mental health of veterans and ex-service men and women.
Isn’t Occupational therapy and Occupational health the same thing?
Not exactly. There can be role-blurring and confusion – both occupational therapy and occupational health are led by specialists, yet they have been trained in different areas of expertise. However, this does not restrict them from working together, with both professions sharing the same values in relation to health promotion. Moreover, bringing new and relevant professions together helps to create a multi-disciplinary team and service. This teamwork and collaboration helps to maximises efficiency and provide positive outcomes with greater frequency.
Facts and figures
- Mental illness is the single largest cause of disability and is the most common cause of long-term absence
- One in six people of the working age population experience symptoms of mental ill-health
- Economic costs of mental health in the UK is an estimated £105.2 billion each year (No Health Without Mental Health, 2011)
- 140 million days are lost due to sickness absence (Black, 2011)
- Longer absence makes getting back into work more difficult. This can cause personal and professional financial cost and stress.
These costs can be reduced through early intervention to get people back into work and maintaining social contact. Carol Blacks, ‘Working for a healthier tomorrow’ (2008) supports that work is beneficial for health and wellbeing. Being in good health will add quality of life and increase motivation which can add value to an organisation.
The education sector
At APL health, we focus on supporting those working in the education sector.
Figures state that 84% of teachers have experienced a mental health problem in the last two years.
This includes 77% with stress, 60% with anxiety, 38% with depression and 77% of people wanting to leave education all together due to effect it has on their mental health (Education support partnership,2015).
Many staff members do not receive proactive support for health and wellbeing issues until it’s too late. Early recognition and intervention will be more beneficial for the individual to improve health and reduce issues caused by work absence. Lack of work can be detrimental to health and wellbeing and this is something we want to avoid.
Work gives people social identity, status, social contacts, support, activity, involvement and personal achievement.
It makes getting out of bed in the morning worthwhile!