Mental Health Occupational Therapy Symposium 2017

by Danielle Hitch

On Friday 26th May, the inaugural Mental Health Occupational Therapy Symposium was held at Deakin Downtown. Eighty occupational therapists working across the full breadth of mental health practice attended, taking advantage of the lovely surroundings to network and share innovations.

The day began with a welcome from the MC (Danielle Hitch) and a workshop to benchmark innovative practice using the Translating Allied Health Knowledge (TAHK) tool. The session highlighted to all participants how they were individually engaging in innovative practice, and how knowledge translation can be viewed as a complex and sophisticated occupation in its own right. Conversation during and after this session unearthed some amazing ideas and practices, and great engagement with how we do, be, become and belong in the mental health space.

After morning tea, the symposium continued with a series of diverse and stimulating presentations. The occupational nature of our practice was highlighted time and time again, along with the ways in which mental health occupational therapists are pursuing occupational justice for people impacted upon by mental illness. Many more questions could have been asked by the audience had time permitted!

The day came to an end with an inspiring keynote speech by Dr. Priscilla Ennals (NEAMI). Dr. Ennals reflected on her own journey as a mental health researcher, and highlighted multiple opportunities for us to connect as mental health occupational therapists. In her discussion of NDIS and the Primary Health Networks, Dr. Ennals got everything thinking about new opportunities that are there for the taking. As this summary of Tweets shows, the event also generated some great commentary on Twitter.

As the feedback below demonstrates, this initial iteration of the symposium was a success and indicates a desire for another event next year. Thank you to everyone who helped to bring this years event together, and to those who have volunteered to form a steering committee for next year.  The presentations (including slides) will be posted on this blog progressively over the next 4-6 weeks, so please visit again 🙂


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