RECOVERY TEAM: Consumer Jacinta gets plenty of support at Rockhampton Mental Health Unit from Occupational Therapy student Robyn Sedgwick (left), Acting Nurse Unit Manager Dan Parker and Occupational Therapist Kyle Gallagher (right).
RECOVERY TEAM: Consumer Jacinta gets plenty of support at Rockhampton Mental Health Unit from Occupational Therapy student Robyn Sedgwick (left), Acting Nurse Unit Manager Dan Parker and Occupational Therapist Kyle Gallagher (right). Contributed

Occupational therapists help Reach your pOTential

OCCUPATIONAL Therapy is an important part of many people's recovery and OT Week theme this year (October 25-31) is "Reach your pOTential".

Rockhampton Mental Health Inpatient Unit OT Kyle Gallagher and OT student Robyn Sedgwick spend their days helping consumers reach their potential.

"We promote function and independent living," Kyle said.

"We help with budget planning and organise activities such as cooking, art and music."

"It varies with different diagnoses, but for depression our activities aim to give people something to wake up for and being part of the community.

"You really get to know the whole person and look at all the external factors that make them a person.

There's also a lot of variety because everyone's got a different treatment plan and responds differently to different means of therapy," he said.

Robyn is in the third year of her four-year Occupational Therapy degree at CQUniversity and is grateful for her five-week clinical placement at the Rockhampton Mental Health Inpatient Unit.

"It's been an eye-opener and I'm very glad I had the opportunity. I recommend it as a placement because it's a scope of OT that can't really be taught from books in a classroom," she said.

"I've had the chance to see a different practice of OT."

Robyn has had her sites on a career in occupational therapy since year 10 and she will be among the first OT graduates from CQUniversity when she finishes next year.

"The more I see the more I know it's what I want to do," she said.

Consumer Jacinta knows firsthand the benefits of occupational therapy for people with a mental illness.

"We do day outings as well where we go to the zoo or the beach. It makes it more liveable while you're in here and makes you feel like you're not in hospital," she said.

"OTs give a lot of moral support. They show a lot of empathy and they don't treat you as just another patient but as a person," Jacinta said.

Occupational therapists work with people of all abilities and ages to do the things they want and need to do through the use of therapeutic activities and equipment.

For more information on occupational therapy, go to http://www.otaus.com.au.



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