Priority 13 from the Occupational Therapy PSP

UNCERTAINTY: What is the effectiveness of occupational therapy for mental health? (JLA PSP Priority 13)
Overall ranking 13
JLA question ID 0100/13
Explanatory note While there is growth in the evidence of the effectiveness of occupational therapy for people experiencing acute or enduring mental health problems, there is a recognised need to expand and further develop the evidence-base.
This question therefore aims to generate evidence to fill these gaps in relation to mental health focused occupational therapy services offered in a range of contexts, for people at various points across the lifespan, who come from various communities and background and who are living with a range of mental health issues.  

The most recent evidence is a literature review by Kirsh et al (2019) that concludes a more developed evidence-base is needed. This question has been partially addressed in the evidence base.
Arbesman, M. and D. W. Logsdon (2011). "Occupational therapy interventions for employment and education for adults with serious mental illness: A systematic review." American Journal of Occupational Therapy 65(3): 238-246.
Birgitta Gunnarsson, A., et al. (2018). "Treatment of depression and/or anxiety—Outcomes of a randomised controlled trial of the Tree Theme Method® versus regular occupational therapy." BMC Psychology 6.
D'Amico, M. L., et al. (2018). "Evidence for interventions to improve and maintain occupational performance and participation for people with serious mental illness: A systematic review." American Journal of Occupational Therapy 72(5).
Doroud, N., et al. (2015). "Recovery as an occupational journey: A scoping review exploring the links between occupational engagement and recovery for people with enduring mental health issues." Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 62(6): 378-392.
Eklund, M., et al. (2017). "Effectiveness of Balancing Everyday Life (BEL) versus standard occupational therapy for activity engagement and functioning among people with mental illness—A cluster RCT study." BMC Psychiatry 17.
Engelbrecht, R., et al. (2019). "The effect of an occupational therapy mental health day treatment centre on the use of inpatient services in the Western Cape, South Africa." Disability & Rehabilitation 41(16): 1974-1980.
Fontaine, B. N., et al. (2019). "Bridging the Gap Between Hospital and Community-Based Mental Health Services." Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 35(2): 157-178.
Fox, J., et al. (2019). "A systematic review and narrative synthesis of occupational therapy-led interventions for individuals with anxiety and stress-related disorders." Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 35(2): 179-204.
Gutman, S. A. and T. Brown (2018). "A Bibliometric Analysis of the Quantitative Mental Health Literature in Occupational Therapy." Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 34(4): 305-346.
Höhl, W., et al. (2017). "Occupational therapy interventions in the treatment of people with severe mental illness." Current Opinion in Psychiatry 30(4): 300-305.
Ikiugu, M. N., et al. (2017). "Clinical effectiveness of occupational therapy in mental health: A meta-analysis." American Journal of Occupational Therapy 71(5): 9.
Kirsh, B., et al. (2019). "Occupational Therapy Interventions in Mental Health: A Literature Review in Search of Evidence." Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 35(2): 109-156.
Lannigan, E. G. and S. Noyes (2019). "Occupational Therapy Interventions for Adults Living With Serious Mental Illness." The American Journal Of Occupational Therapy: Official Publication Of The American Occupational Therapy Association 73(5): 7305395010p7305395011-7305395010p7305395015.
Morris, K., et al. (2018). "Occupational therapy delivered by specialists versus non-specialists for people with schizophrenia." The Cochrane database of systematic reviews 10: CD012398.
Nct (2019). "Does an Occupational Therapy Program Enhance Mental Health Outcomes for Veterans Who Scuba Dive."
Petersen, K. S., et al. (2019). "Occupational therapy interventions in mental health: a scoping review of recent evidence." International Journal of Therapy & Rehabilitation 26(9): 1-21.
Read, H., et al. (2018). "Early intervention in mental health for adolescents and young adults: A systematic review." American Journal of Occupational Therapy 72(5): 1-8.
Spencer, B., et al. (2018). "Effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions for students with mental illness transitioning to higher education: A systematic review." Occupational Therapy in Mental Health 34(2): 151-164.
Swarbrick, M. and S. Noyes (2018). "Effectiveness of occupational therapy services in mental health practice." American Journal of Occupational Therapy 72(5): 1-4.
Therapists, R. C. o. O. (2017). Occupational therapists' use of occupation-focused practice in secure hospitals: practice guideline. London.
Tokolahi, E., et al. (2018). "Cluster‐randomised controlled trial of an occupational therapy intervention for children aged 11–13 years, designed to increase participation to prevent symptoms of mental illness." Child and adolescent mental health 23(4): 313-327.
Wimpenny, K., et al. (2014). "A qualitative research synthesis examining the effectiveness of interventions used by occupational therapists in mental health." British Journal of Occupational Therapy 77(6): 276-288.

Health Research Classification System category Generic Health Relevance
Extra information provided by this PSP
Original uncertainty examples What is the evidence that Occupational therapy can benefit people with mental health issues. ~ Is occupational therapy effective in community mental health? Is it more effective than other interventions? ~ What OT interventions are effective for people with long term/severe and enduring mental health problems?  ~ Do mental health occupational therapy interventions aid recovery and are they cost effective?  ~ I would like to know how inpatient mental health settings demonstrate and measure the success of occupational therapy groups, and how this carries over into patients lives post discharge ~ What is the evidence base for OT in community mental health recovery?
Submitted by Occupational therapists, Carers, Students, Services Users, People with a different interest, Other 
PSP information
PSP unique ID 0100
PSP name Occupational Therapy
Total number of uncertainties identified by this PSP. 66  (To see a full list of all uncertainties identified, please see the detailed spreadsheet held on the JLA website)
Date of priority setting workshop 27 July 2020