Occupational Therapy for Mental Health

How can a Mental Health Occupational Therapist help me?

  • “Occupational therapy practitioners help people live life to its fullest-no matter what. They provide practical solutions for success in everyday living and help people alter how they arrange their daily activities to maximize function, vitality, and productivity.”
    Florence Clark, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
  • “Medicine adds days to life, occupational therapy adds life to days.”
  • “Occupational therapy is where science, creativity and compassion collide.”
    Jessica Kensky
  • “Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.”
    American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
  • “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
    Annie Dillard
    The Writing Life

Mental health issues can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to carry out everyday activities. Everyone is unique in what difficulties they experience, but some common areas of difficulty can include:


  • Difficulties remembering health related appointments or to take medications 
  • Neglecting personal care due to depressed mood
  • Difficulties with sleep – insomnia, sleeping too much, nightmares or flashbacks
  • Eating – overeating, managing side effects of medications such as increased appetite or not eating enough.


  • Challenges getting on with colleagues
  • Managing anxiety in a work setting
  • Dealing with difficulties with attention, concentration, memory or problem solving.

Community access

  • Managing with anxiety or paranoia outside the home
  • Sensory processing issues making it difficult to do tasks outside of the house e.g. everything is too bright or too loud.

Household tasks

  • Difficulties with self-organisation to do everyday tasks like pay bills, do cleaning, or budgeting.
  • Motivational issues impacting on ability to do household tasks like cleaning or cooking

Relationships with others

  • Managing the demands of parenting
  • Dealing with conflict with family and friends
  • Self-esteem / self-confidence issues
  • Troubles making or keeping friendships

Hobbies and leisure

  • Difficulties engaging in enjoyable leisure activities due to anxiety or lack of motivation 
  • Lack of a structured weekly routine to allow participation in valued social or leisure activities.

As an occupational therapist, my aim is to work with you to enable you to participate in the day-to-day activities you want to do or need to do. Some ways I can do this include:

  • Recommendations on appropriate supports to assist you with day-to-day activities. This includes functional capacity assessments for the purposes of gaining access to the NDIS or plan reviews.
  • Sensory based strategies to help you manage emotions or do activities that are important to you
  • Strategies to compensate for areas of difficulty (e.g. use of calendar or phone alarms to help you remember important tasks)
  • Recommendations of equipment and technology to support your participation in day-to-day activities 
  • Support to develop a daily routine that helps you to connect with others and carry out the tasks you want or need to do
  • “Talking therapy” to empower you with more helpful ways of thinking about emotions and problems.
  • Skills training to help you be more effective in your relationships, manage emotions and get through crises.

The overarching goal of occupation therapy is simple: Help patients live life to the fullest.