A resource to help you attain new levels of knowledge and awesomeness …..

By Danielle Hitch

27th November, 2016 youtube

ChrisFlipp You Tube Channel

The ChrisFlipp You Tube Channel has over 50 short videos that provide an introduction to a range of research and drug & alcohol topics. Most cover their content in less than 10 minutes, and provide a bite size overview with some added tongue in cheek humour.

What’s good

  • The length of the videos make them easy to watch amongst your other duties
  • All are engaging and accessible to watch
  • The combination of research skills and drug & alcohol themes are particularly relevant to mental health
  • Both qualitative and quantitative research topics are addressed

What’s not so good

  • Chris is obviously from America, so some of the information presented isn’t directly translatable to the Australian context
  • There are some minor errors in some videos (although these are corrected with notes in the videos themselves)
  • The pace of some videos is quite fast, and would require repeated viewing

Recommended Videos

  • Surveys
  • Reliability and Validity
  • Case Study
  • Anatomy of a Research Article
  • Philosophical Assumptions and World Views 

So, what’s the verdict ….

If you like your information bite sized, and in a way that doesn’t take itself too seriously, the ChrisFlipp channel is for you. It’s a great as an introductory resource, and as a ‘refresher’ when you’re reading research. Fun, concise and accessible.


8 out of 10 !!!


Money makes the world go around…

By Danielle Hitch

27th November, 2016


Most mental health OT’s get into the field for the best of reasons – to improve quality of life, address occupational justice and generally make life better for people with mental illness. And we think this is enough – but it isn’t …

We can talk ‘till the cows come home about how we support people to engage in meaningful occupations, and enable them to participate to their optimal level in the community … and often do.

But we operate in a system that values other outcomes that are easier to measure and more clearly defined, one of which is cost effectiveness. Money does indeed make the health world spin, particularly in the public sector where everything we do is funded by the hard earned of our fellow citizens.

So, why are there so few studies into the cost effectiveness of OT in mental health? Studies such as these have been conducted in physical health, and invariably found that the presence of OT reduces burden on the public health system and saves money. The most recent of these from Scotland found that OTs can make efficiency saving while also experiencing patient experience.

A 2008 study found that the provision of OT could save €1748 per patient with dementia (Graff et al., 2008), while a 2013 study found an OT led lifestyle intervention for people with panic disorder proved to provide value for money over 10 months. A review by Mary Morley and Genevieve Smith (2013) also found two further studies that showed OT to be a cost effective intervention for people with enduring psychotic conditions (Cook & Howe, 2003) and work related major depression (Schene et al., 2007).

All of this evidence has been generated in Europe – where is the evidence from Australia? We need to partner with health economists to prove, in concrete terms, the ‘worth’ of occupational therapy in mental health. It is only be putting a dollar figure on what we save the community through out work that it will be valued and appropriately funded. While this might seem quite mercenary, the economic analysis of the impact of mental health occupational therapy will provide far greater security and support for the profession than any number of small scale studies into the subjective experience of being a provider or consumer of OT.

So, does this mean that qualitative studies are redundant? – Of course not! As with all aspects of life, there needs to be a balanced approach to the evidence we utilise to support our work in mental health occupational therapist. Economic analyses are tricky to get going, but they are essential to the ongoing sustainability of mental health occupational therapy. So, get in touch with your local health economist …. They could become your best friend.


Cook, S., & Howe, A. (2003) Engaging people with enduring psychotic conditions in primary mental health care and occupational therapy. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(6), 236–46.

Graff, M.J., Adang, E.M., Vernooij-Dassen, M.J. et al. (2008). Community occupational therapy for older patients with dementia and their care givers: Cost effectiveness study. BMJ, 336, 154-158.

Lambert, R.A., Longelly, P., Harvey, I. & Poland, F. (2010). Cost-effectiveness analysis of an occupational therapy-led lifestyle approach and routine general practitioner’s care for panic disorder. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 45(7), 741-750.

Morley, M., & Smyth, G. (2013) Are occupational therapy interventions for service users with mental health problems cost-effective? British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76(10), 470–473.

Schene AH, Koeter MWJ, Kikkert MJ, Swinkels JA, McCrone P (2007) Adjuvant occupational therapy for work-related major depression works: randomised trial including economic evaluation. Psychological Medicine, 37(3), 351–62.

Setting Up a Blog for Mental Health Occupational Therapists

By Danielle Hitch

November 27th, 2016


I thought it would be good to start the ball rolling on our ‘Practice Innovation’ posts by telling you all about the background work that went into setting up OMPH. For much of this year, I have been working towards its launch and the academic in me really wanted it to be based on evidence (and yes, I can hear you all groaning, but bear with me).

I was fortunate enough to have the support of two fourth year Deakin University students – Georgie Bundy and Rohana Tully – who surveyed mental health occupational therapists about what they’d like to see on this blog. And here’s what they found from the 28 mental health occupational therapists who responded:

  • About half had used blogs before, mostly for personal use. However, 30% had accessed research via a blog in the past, and all of them stated they found the medium really useful
  • The majority wanted to access the blog weekly (46%) or monthly (42%)
  • Around 27% were interested in submitting their own work to the blog, with a further 54% somewhat interested
  • The most popular proposed features were critical reviews of recently published articles, lived experience posts, lists of the latest research in mental health occupational therapy and practice innovation
  • The majority (77%) stated that a mental health occupational therapy blog would be beneficial or very beneficial to their practice.
  • Blogs were seen to be effective ways to support communities of practice (73%) and rapidly disseminate knowledge and evidence (92%).
  • Almost everyone (92%) wanted to see themed fortnights or months on the blog over the course of the year and many provide specific suggestions around the content of these themes

So, lots of great suggestions there – what have I done with them?

  • The blog will be updated at least fortnightly, but has the capacity to be updated instantly should breaking news or hot topics arise
  • The blog will be multi-author to enable all members of the mental health occupational therapy community to contribute
  • The most popular proposed features have all been included
  • There will be a theme every fortnight which people are welcome to contribute to, along with the ability to post on whatever tickles your fancy


There you go – evidence into action! I will continue to evaluate the impact of this blog at regular intervals, but don’t wait for a feedback survey to tell us what you think! Comment on the posts, and hit us up at omphblog@gmail.com to let us know if this blog is hitting the spot (or not).

I almost quit as an occupational therapist when the NHS failed me – The Guardian



The following article is a very moving and quite challenging account of a mental health occupational therapist’s experience as a carer. The dual role of occupational therapist + carer / consumer is one that many of us play, and colleagues with these experiences (both positive and negative) are an important voice within our profession.


The Guardian, Thursday 10 November 2016




Hot Off The Press – November 2016

This month has seen the publication of new evidence to support practice in both forensic and acute settings, along with the introduction of a new functional scale. Click on the articles title to see the full abstract.


Connell, C. (2016). Forensic occupational therapy to reduce risk of reoffending: A survey of practice in the United Kingdom. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 27(6), 907-928.

Fitzgerald, M. (2016). The potential role of the occupational therapist in acute psychiatric services: A comparative evaluation. International Journal of Therapy & Rehabilitation, 23(11), 514-518.

Samuel, R., Russell, P.S., Paraseth, T.K., Ernest, S., Jacob, K.S. (2016). Development and validation of the Vellore Occupational Therapy Evaluation Scale to assess functioning in people with mental illness. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 62(7), 616-626.


If you review these articles, consider doing a critical review for your fellow readers of this blog!!