I was pleased to lend my support to the parliamentary launch of Getting my life back, a new report from the Royal College of Occupational Therapists that sets out the valuable work its members do in supporting people with mental health problems.
Mental health presents itself in many guises and what this report draws out is the effectiveness of occupational therapy in addressing the variety of problems people of all ages can face.
Most people first look for support with a mental health problem from their GP, but only 5 per cent of mental health professionals such as occupational therapists work in GP services.
That means that too many people have to reach crisis before they get any kind of help.
Getting my life back looks at innovative occupational therapy services that crucially focus on prevention and early intervention. It makes a strong case that occupational therapy can have life changing effects on people with mental health conditions, from stress and anxiety to depression, psychosis and self-harm.
The Royal College of Occupational Therapists wants its members to be routinely helping young people with mental health problems to achieve their full educational potential and supporting people with mental health issues into employment.
Occupational therapists should also be involved in plans to improve the physical health of people with serious mental health problems and lead innovative service delivery that improves access to mental health support in primary care.
The more individuals we can reach earlier, the better for them, their families, their friends and their colleagues and employers. The recommendations in this report show how, by using occupational therapists innovatively, this can be achieved.