Get help. Get better. Get well.
Ask for OT for your ICBC claim.
You have been injured in a car accident, and you have not fully recovered. You want to get back to your regular life, but you are not sure how or where to get started. Ask for Occupational Therapy (OT) for your ICBC claim.
Occupational therapy can help you put the pieces together that you need to get better. OTs provide individualized care that is specific to you, your injuries, and your life. They listen to you and focus their work on your goals and what is meaningful to you.
We can help you to get back to living your life after a car accident.
How OT can help after an accident
An Occupational Therapist can help you in many ways after a car accident.
We focus on your function and help you perform a wide variety of activities. Whether you’re having physical, cognitive, and emotional difficulties, an OT can help. We see each person as unique and tailor our approach to you.
An Occupational Therapist can help you with activities like:
- Preparing you and your home for your discharge from hospital
- Restoring basic activities, like bathing, dressing, grooming and personal hygiene
- Getting you back to activities like home making, finances, meal planning, community access
- Leisure and recreation
- Getting back to school or work
- Return to driving
Click here to learn how an OT can assist you in different stages of your recovery.
OT is fully covered by ICBC
Occupational therapy is covered under ICBC’s Enhanced Care model. There are no user-fees for OT.
However, OT is not pre-approved like other health professions. To have an OT help your recover, your ICBC claims specialist must approve OT involvement. To get approval, you will need a referral from your GP or a doctor’s note. Talk to your doctor if an OT would be right for you.
If ICBC has already approved funding for Occupational Therapy for you, simply email us the written authorization, and we will assign an OT to assist you.
Get Started with an OT
After reporting a claim to ICBC, you can ask your ICBC Recovery Specialist for OT. You can also contact our Referrals Team at OT Works! to discuss your situation. You can reach us by phone, email or on our website:
- By phone, at (604)696-1066
- By email, at firstname.lastname@example.org
- By sending the referral form to us by email or fax
What do I need to get started?
You will need to provide some personal information, ICBC claim details, and a GP note.
Our Referrals Team will then guide you through the process.
If you are not sure if OT has been approved, our Referrals team will contact ICBC and/or your legal counsel on your behalf to secure funding.
How much does OT cost?
If ICBC has approved OT services for you, our OT services will be fully paid by ICBC. There are no user fees and you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket.
NOTE: ICBC will not pay for OT services that have not been approved. We recommend always getting ICBC approval before starting with an OT. If you are not sure how to get the approval, give us a call and we can help
When can I start working with an OT?
It depends, but our goal is to make the whole process as fast as possible. We always try to assign the best OT that matches your situation and find the right fit for you. It may take some time for the right OT to become available. Our Referrals team will keep you informed during the process and inform you of any wait times.
Who will contact ICBC to get approval for Occupational Therapy?
Our Referrals team and/or your legal counsel will contact ICBC on your behalf to get approval for OT.
Where are OT services delivered?
Our OTs work in the community, and can see you in your home, workplace or in a community setting (park, community center).
We can also offer telehealth if that’s appropriate for your situation.
OT Works! has OTs available in the following areas:
- Lower Mainland: Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, North & West Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Langley, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows
- Fraser Valley: Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack
- Sea-to-Sky: Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton
- Sunshine Coast: Gibsons, Sechelt
- Vancouver Island:
- South: Victoria, Esquimalt, Sooke, East Sooke, Saanich, Sidney, Langford, Colwood, Metchosin
- Central: Nanaimo, Parksville, Ladysmith, Qualicum Beach, Port Alberni
- North: Campbell River, Courtney, Comox, Cumberland, Fanny Bay, Nanoose Bay, Union Bay
Are all of your OTs approved by ICBC?
All our OT’s are authorized by ICBC to provide OT services. Occupational Therapists s are university-educated professionals, registered by the College of Occupational Therapists of BC.
Get started today
If you are ready to start your rehabilitation after a car accident, ask for OT and contact us today.
Our OTs will be happy to help you getting back to the life you love!
We’re excited to announce the newest addition to our team, Heidi Nygard, a dedicated occupational therapist at OT Works!
Since joining us in August 2023, Heidi has been instrumental in delivering exceptional community-based OT services, focusing on enhancing individual independence and helping clients achieve their goals through tailored daily activities at home, work, and within their communities.
Heidi holds a master’s degree in occupational therapy from UBC, bringing knowledge to support individuals with learning disabilities and leveraging assistive technology within her clinical practice.
With experience spanning diverse populations in return-to-work, post-secondary, and community home health settings, Heidi has assisted clients dealing with various challenges, including mental health conditions, chronic pain, concussion/traumatic brain injury, and complex diagnoses, guiding them toward achieving their meaningful and purposeful goals.
Before embarking on her journey as an OT, Heidi contributed her skills to various roles, including serving as a Case Manager in a community employment program, working as a library technician in a Braille library, and acting as a learning strategist/assistive technologist for students with disabilities at UBC.
Heidi caters to a diverse clientele, encompassing individuals covered by WSBC, ICBC, private-paying clients, and those with extended health/disability insurance. She serves clients in the Central Vancouver Island area, including Ladysmith, Duncan, and Nanaimo.
Heidi is a full registrant and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).
Get started with an OT
If you or someone you know can benefit from the expertise and support of an occupational therapist, reach out to us today!
Phone: 604.696.1066 ext. 1000.
Falls can occur unexpectedly and have severe consequences, particularly for the senior community. Falls can result in serious injury, especially in older people. As we age, the risk of injuries stemming from falls increases. Falls are the main reason why older people lose their independence.
In Canada alone, 95% of all hip fractures and 40% of nursing home admissions are directly linked to falls, making them the primary cause of injury-related hospitalizations among older adults. Despite these staggering statistics, it’s crucial to understand that falls are not an inevitable aspect of aging; in fact, they are largely preventable.
3 Simple Steps to Prevent Falls
Empowering yourself with the right knowledge and taking proactive steps can significantly reduce the risks associated with falls. Here are three simple strategies, encapsulated as Move, Improve, Remove, to help you or your loved ones maintain a safe and fulfilling lifestyle.
1. MOVE your body
- Cultivate balance, strength, and flexibility through regular physical activity.
- Engage in stability-enhancing exercises like walking, swimming, or dancing.
- Gradually intensify your workout regimen to bolster muscle strength over time.
2. IMPROVE your health
- Regularly review medications with your healthcare provider to identify potential side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness.
- Sustain social engagements to foster emotional well-being.
- Ensure regular dental care to promote a nutritious diet.
- Schedule periodic check-ups for vision and hearing assessments.
3. REMOVE hazards
- Maintain clutter-free floors to minimize trip hazards.
- Install secure grab bars in bathrooms and use handrails on staircases.
- Ensure proper lighting in all areas to improve visibility.
- Opt for well-fitting, supportive footwear indoors and outdoors.
Assess your risk
Curious about your own risk of falling? Use our simple resource to gauge your risk factors and take necessary precautions.
How Occupational Therapists (OT) Can Help
Occupational Therapists are experts in fall prevention strategies and can guide you through the Move, Improve, Remove steps outlined above. They offer valuable insights, recommendations, and assistive devices to help manage your fall risk factors and optimize your home environment.
If you or someone you know is at risk for falls, contact us today.
November is Fall Prevention Month. Together, let’s prevent falls and maintain a fulfilling and independent lifestyle.
Every October, OT Works! takes pride in celebrating our exceptional team of Occupational Therapists and the impact they have on the lives of our clients.
Unity Through Community
OT month is celebrated both locally and internationally, with October 27th being recognized as World Occupational Therapy Day. This year, we are inspired by the theme proposed by The World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT): “Unity Through Community.”
Occupational Therapists play a crucial role in facilitating their clients’ recovery and well-being by fostering collaboration with other healthcare professionals. This collaborative approach ensures that our clients receive the holistic and comprehensive care they deserve.
Lighting up the country for World OT Day
To raise awareness about the field of occupational therapy and to acknowledge the contributions made by OTs since the inception of the profession in 1926, landmarks across Canada will be illuminated in blue on October 27th, celebrating World OT Day.
In BC, the BC Place Stadium and the Science World in Vancouver will be bathed in blue light to celebrate OT Day!
Occupational Therapy at OT Works!
AT OT Works!, our team of dedicated therapists is certified by the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC). They are skilled in treating clients with a wide range of needs, including physical injuries, mental health conditions, and brain injuries.
Our Occupational Therapists serve communities across the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Sea-to-Sky, and Vancouver Island. To learn more about our services, contact us.
As we celebrate OT Month and World OT Day, we invite you to explore further resources and insights about occupational therapy through the following links:
Join us in recognizing the incredible impact of Occupational Therapists, and for being a part of our mission to empower individuals in their pursuit of a better quality of life.
Happy OT Month!
Empowering Veterans: OT Works! Supports Veterans and RCMP Service Members on Their Journey to Post-Service Life
At OT Works!, we take pride in being able to serve our veterans through Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). Our Occupational Therapists (OTs) can play a large role in guiding service members as they transition back into civilian life. We understand that this journey can be challenging, and that’s why we create personalized treatment plans to assist our clients in enhancing their daily life management.
As experts in functional rehabilitation, our OTs understand the difficulties that veterans and their families may face during this transition period. Our therapists build upon the service member’s existing skills, fostering efficiency, safety, and independence.
Under contract with VAC, OT Works! therapists provide Occupational Therapy assessments and treatment. These interventions encompass a wide spectrum, including:
- home adaptations
- assistive device prescriptions (including wheelchairs and scooters)
- mental health support
- managing disrupted routines, and
- tackling occupational challenges arising from traumatic brain injuries.
How Can an OT Help?
Our commitment is to provide personalized and effective treatment not only to veterans but also to their families. As community-based occupational therapists, we meet our clients in their environments, whether it’s their workplaces, schools, gyms, homes, or communities.
We value the rich diversity of experiences our clients bring to the table and have established a rigorous Quality Assurance process to ensure they receive the care they truly deserve. OT Works! takes pride in helping our veterans become the best version of themselves.
We extend our support to those with physical injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, orthopedic conditions, and brain injuries, as well as those dealing with trauma-induced or exacerbated mental health conditions like PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, our clinical expertise extends to chronic pain and operational stress injuries.
Services we offer
Our Occupational Therapists employ evidence-based, trauma-informed care strategies. We place a strong emphasis on compensation and goal-oriented treatment plans, assisting clients by:
- Providing educational insights into injuries, current abilities, and recovery, such as pain management and typical recovery timelines.
- Working to enhance and expand current abilities or skills, whether it’s increasing lifting tolerance or improving emotional regulation.
- Adapting materials and environments, from adding a bench in the shower to assessing the need for a power wheelchair.
- Recommending environmental changes, including connecting clients with specialized public transportation options or advocating for workplace accommodations.
Our Experience with VAC Clients
Our OTs are passionate about working with veterans and boast extensive experience in addressing their unique needs. Some of our team members have been dedicated to serving veterans for many years. We understand the distinctive challenges and requirements of veterans, thanks in part to our Clinical Director, Pamela Russell, who grew up in a military family. Her father served as a military member, with her mother supporting veterans through a career with Veterans Affairs Canada. This understanding of both military and civilian life ensures our client-centered services celebrate your strengths and competencies, ultimately helping you manage everyday tasks efficiently, safely, and as independently as possible.
Our services extend across various regions, including:
- Metro Vancouver: Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, North & West Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, White Rock, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Langley, Fort Langley, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows.
- Fraser Valley: Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Harrison Lake, Agassiz, Dewdney, Hope.
- Sea-to-Sky: Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton.
- Vancouver Island-South: Victoria, Esquimalt, Sooke, East Sooke, Saanich, Sidney, Langford, Colwood, Metchosin.
- Central Island: Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Port Alberni.
- North Island: Campbell River, Courtney, Comox, Cumberland, Fanny Bay, Nanoose Bay, Union Bay.
Referring a Veteran
Referring a veteran to OT Works! is a straightforward process:
- VAC Case Managers: Send your referral through the BHSOL portal.
- RCMP Case Managers: Feel free to send the referral to us via email, fax, or give us a call to discuss.
- Veterans: If you’re a veteran unsure of your needs, please discuss them with your Case Manager. If you have any questions or uncertainties, don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Get started with an OT
If you or someone you know could benefit from the guidance of a skilled occupational therapist, we invite you to reach out to us today:
Phone: 604.696.1066 ext. 1000.
At OT Works!, we are dedicated to supporting veterans as they embark on their post-service journeys towards a fulfilling and independent life.
OT Works!’ Functional Capacity Evaluations are conducted by qualified Occupational Therapists with extensive FCE experience. They have served a range of clients providing dependable, accurate, and reliable assessments.
Understanding the FCE
The purpose of an FCE is to determine an individual’s ability to perform specific job-related activities safely and effectively. Our occupational therapists conduct a thorough evaluation of physical strength, mobility, coordination, endurance for physical and cognitive activities and other relevant factors. During the assessment, individuals take part in standardized tests, exercises, and simulated work tasks that replicate the physical and/or cognitive demands of their job or the type of work they are seeking to perform. FCEs are typically longer duration assessments, up to 6-8 hours and in some instances testing occurs over several consecutive days. This enables the occupational therapist to evaluate the client’s ability to sustain work tasks and work productivity over time.
FCEs also include testing that evaluates the client’s level of effort provided during the assessment. This enables the occupational therapist to determine if the assessment findings are an accurate representation of the client’s abilities and limitations.
FCEs also include testing for the client’s reliability with respect to pain and disability reports. This enables the occupational therapist to determine whether the client’s subjective reports regarding their symptoms and disability are consistent with what is observed. Effort and reliability testing enable the occupational therapist to more accurately determine how the client would perform in a real work setting.
FCE’s can be completed by a number of different healthcare providers. Here is what separates ones done by OT Works! from the rest:
- Conducted by Occupational Therapists: all of our assessors are registered and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of BC. Our OTs also provide occupational therapy treatment, and have specific rehab experience working on function with similar clients
- Experienced with FCEs – all of our assessors have a minimum 5 years of experience conducting FCEs
- Holistic approach – Occupational therapists evaluate clients holistically, taking into consideration their physical, cognitive and emotional abilities, as well as their environments
- Customized solutions – our FCE’s are focused on the specific request. While our reports are objective reliable, and use standardized assessments, they address the main question that the customer needs answered. We listen to our customers and clients and focus our attention on their specific situation–its not a “one size fits all” solution
- Central location– our modern Class A assessment facility in New Westminster is centrally located in the Lower Mainland and is easily accessible by transit.
Different Types of FCEs and OT assessments
There are different types of assessments and FCE’s that OT Works! can provide, depending on the specific client’s needs.
A medical-legal FCE is specifically conducted within a legal context, such as workers’ compensation disputes or personal injury cases. Its purpose is to provide an objective evaluation of an individual’s functional abilities and limitations that can be used as evidence in legal proceedings. A medical-legal FCE is characterized by impartiality, documentation of functional limitations, and the use of experts with specialized training and experience in performing evaluations for legal purposes.
A rehab FCE, also known as a vocational or occupational FCE, focuses on assessing an individual’s functional abilities and limitations in relation to returning to work or participating in vocational rehabilitation. It is commonly used in occupational rehabilitation, workers’ compensation cases, and disability management. The goals of a rehab-FCE include determining the individual’s current capabilities and limitations, assessing readiness for work or vocational rehabilitation, identifying suitable job tasks and accommodations, and developing customized rehabilitation plans based on the assessment findings.
A Cognitive FCE typically involves a series of standardized tests and tasks that assess various cognitive domains, such as memory, attention, problem-solving, decision-making, and information processing. The evaluation may also include activities that simulate work-related tasks to assess an individual’s ability to handle specific job requirements.
An OT assessment considers physical, cognitive, sensory, and psychosocial barriers to function, while assessing current capacity for self-care, work, leisure, and other activities important for daily life.
It includes objective, standardized assessments and observations of function, and typically focuses on developing return to work and/or rehabilitation recommendations.
An OT functional assessment is typically shorter than an FCE(i.e. 2-3 hours vs. 8 hours for an FCE) and is less costly. Because of its shorter duration, an OT assessment cannot define overall tolerances or activity endurance related to return to full-time work.
Also OT functional assessments usually take place in community settings, workplaces or in the client’s home, while the FCEs take place in a standardized clinic setting.
Finally, OT assessments do not typically comment on the reliability of the client’s reports, and validity of the results, which are typically required in legal proceedings.
Our FCE Team
At OT Works!, our team of certified-FCE providers has extensive experience in conducting FCE assessments. They have helped many clients in their return to work and rehabilitation journeys.
- Certified as a Work Capacity Evaluator through Roy Matheson and Associates in 2013 and recertified in 2016 and 2020. Completed the Employment Potential Improvement Corporation (EPIC) Lifting course to become a Certified EPIC Lifting Capacity Evaluator. Also completed Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation course through Roy Matheson and Associates in 2019.
- For the past 10 years, Haley has completed hundreds of medical legal assessments across the Lower Mainland including Functional/Work Capacity Evaluations, Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluations and Cost of Future Care Assessments.
- She has testified as an expert witness in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on numerous occasions.
- Certified to complete Functional Capacity Evaluations. Trained in Isernhagen Work Systems (now known as WorkWell Systems) to complete basic and comprehensive functional capacity evaluations. Completed EPIC lift training but not certified.
- 16 years of experience and hundreds of rehab functional capacity evaluations. 1 year of experience in medical-legal functional evaluations. Completed training in cognitive functional capacity evaluations.
- Steven has not testified in court so cannot be counted as an expert witness.
Aman Rangi (rehab FCEs only)
- Aman is a certified Work Capacity Evaluator through Roy Matheson and Associates at both basic and advanced level. He is also one of the internationally recognized instructors for Roy Matheson and Associates, teaching the Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) course. He is also a Certified EPIC Lifting Capacity Evaluator and has completed training in Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation. When not completing medical-legal assessments, Aman also teaches at the University of British Columbia (UBC) as a clinical faculty member in the Master of Occupational Science and Therapy program.
- For the past 5 years, Aman has completed medical legal assessments across the Lower Mainland including Functional/Work Capacity Evaluations, Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluations and Cost of Future Care Assessments. He has also carried a rehabilitation caseload.
- He has testified as an expert witness in the Supreme Court of British Columbia on multiple occasions
- Certified as a Work Capacity Evaluator by WorkWell Functional Capacity Evaluation training in 2017. Completed the Cognitive Functional Capacity Evaluation course through Roy Matheson Education and Training in 2017.
- Maren has been completing FCE’s since 2017, with an emphasis in return to work settings.
- Maren has not testified in court.
OT Works!’ FCE clinic
With a central location in Uptown New Westminster, our clinic is accessible by transit. Located inside Metro Vancouver’s first LEED Gold office building, offering a bright environment and high ceilings, our clinic is fully equipped with functional testing equipment.
With the skills and experience of our team, and access to FCE equipment and procedures, OT Works! can also provide other standardized functional assessments.
Contact us to find out more
Whether you require an FCE for occupational rehabilitation, disability assessment, or workers’ compensation case, you can trust our knowledgeable and skilled therapists at OT Works! to provide you with accurate and meaningful evaluations.
We are thrilled to present the latest additions to our dynamic team: Karen Gill, Parisa Madani, and Simone Mann – occupational therapists at OT Works!
Since joining us between May and July of 2023, they have been delivering exceptional community-based occupational therapy services. Through their dedicated efforts to incorporate daily routines at home, work, and within the community, they are committed to enhancing independence and guiding clients towards their rehabilitation goals.
Karen earned her Master of Occupational Therapy at McMaster University. She is an advocate for a client-centered approach, aiming to empower individuals to engage in meaningful activities encompassing personal care, employment, and leisure pursuits. Karen has successfully assisted clients navigating challenges related to concussion, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. Her knowledge extends to musculoskeletal and orthopedic injuries, as well as mixed diagnoses. Karen extends her support to a diverse clientele, including those with WSBC and ICBC claims, private-paying clients, and individuals with extended health and disability insurance coverage. Fluent in Punjabi and Hindi, Karen serves the Surrey/Langley area.
Parisa, a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Master of Occupational Therapy program, enriches our team with her valuable background as a Kinesiologist. Her prior experience underscores the significance of active physical therapy for sustainable outcomes. Parisa specializes in aiding clients grappling with musculoskeletal and orthopedic injuries, chronic pain, and mental health challenges on their journey back to the workforce. She extends her guidance to individuals within WSBC, ICBC, private-pay sectors, and those covered by extended health and disability insurance plans. Fluent in Spanish, Parisa serves communities in Surrey, Langley, Burnaby, and New Westminster.
Simone is a dedicated occupational therapist who achieved her Master of Occupational Therapy at Bond University in Australia. She stands out for her compassionate and respectful demeanor, which she combines with innovative, evidence-based interventions tailored to each client’s distinct values and needs. Simone excels in supporting clients dealing with physical injuries, chronic pain management, exposure therapy, and brain injury rehabilitation. With a clientele encompassing WSBC and ICBC claims, private-paying individuals, and those under extended health and disability insurance, Simone brings her expertise to the fore. Fluent in Punjabi and Hindi, she serves clients in Delta, Surrey, Langley, Richmond, New Westminster, and Burnaby.
All our therapists, including Karen, Parisa and Simone, are registrants and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).
Get started with an OT
If you or someone you know can benefit from the guidance of a skilled occupational therapist, we invite you to contact us today!
Phone: 604.696.1066 ext. 1000.
We’re excited to introduce the newest members of our team, Micaylee Pucilowski, Yasmine Mackie, and Brenden James, occupational therapists at OT Works!
They joined our team in February-March 2023, and have since been providing exceptional community OT services to individuals. By implementing daily activities at home, work, and in the community, they work to foster increased independence and help clients achieve their goals.
Micaylee completed her Master of Occupational Therapy at Western University and has a passion for making a meaningful difference in her clients’ lives. She has experience working with musculoskeletal/orthopaedic injuries, chronic pain, mental health (anxiety/depression), and concussion/traumatic brain injury. Micaylee works with a range of clients, including those with WSBC, ICBC, private-paying clients, and those with extended health/disability insurance. She serves clients in the Metro Vancouver region.
Yasmine completed her Master of Science in Neuroscience and her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at the University of Alberta. She is passionate about supporting clients in their recovery through collaboration and engagement in meaningful activities. She has experience working with individuals with musculoskeletal/orthopaedic injuries, chronic pain, mental health concerns (including, but not limited to, anxiety, depression, and PTSD), concussion/traumatic brain injury, and mixed diagnoses. Yasmine works with WSBC, ICBC, private paying clients, and those with extended health/disability insurance. She serves clients in the Tri-Cities, Surrey, Burnaby, and New Westminster.
Brenden completed his Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of British Columbia and his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from McGill University. He has honed his skills in mental health, chronic pain, and mixed diagnoses throughout his academic and professional career. Brenden works with a range of clients, including those with WSBC, ICBC, private-paying clients, and those with extended health/disability insurance. He serves clients in the Metro Vancouver region.
All our therapists, including Micaylee, Yasmine, and Brenden, are full registrants and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).
Get started with an OT
If you or someone you know could benefit from working with an occupational therapist, contact us today!
Phone: 604.696.1066 ext. 1000.
National Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated annually in Canada on the summer solstice, June 21st, to honor and recognize the culture, heritage, and contributions of Indigenous peoples.
Celebrate the day respectfully
- Attend an Indigenous event or gathering
Many Indigenous communities across Canada organize events and gatherings on June 21. Attend one of these events to experience the vibrant culture of Indigenous peoples.
- Learn about Indigenous History
Take some time to educate yourself about the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Visit a local museum, read books written by Indigenous authors, or watch documentaries about Indigenous history.
- Support Indigenous Businesses
Support Indigenous businesses by shopping at Indigenous-owned stores or purchasing Indigenous-made products.
Volunteer your time to support Indigenous organizations or communities. This could involve helping with community events, fundraising, or offering your skills in a specific area.
- Take part in Social Media Campaigns
Join social media campaigns that celebrate Indigenous culture and history and raise awareness of the challenges that Indigenous peoples face today.
Remember that celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day is just one small part of a larger effort to recognize and support Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is important to continue learning about Indigenous history and culture and to work towards reconciliation and decolonization.
What we are doing at OT Works!
At OT Works! we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day by learning their history and understanding how we move forward to support Indigenous communities.
We have adopted the Indigenous Cultural Safety, Humility, and Anti-Racism standard of practice, as recommended by the College of Occupational Therapists of BC (COTBC).
Our team is also collectively studying and learning more about the negative impact of colonization and racism in health care. Specifically, every team member has read the In Plain Sight report and has watched webinars from the Indigenous Cultural Safety Collaborative Learning Series. OT Works! has facilitated a group discussion about our learnings and how our team can further support Indigenous Peoples in the care we provide.
Learn more about National Indigenous Peoples Day and Indigenous communities:
Storytelling is a fundamental part of life. It’s how we share information, culture, language, and ways of life. Stories connect us with our friends, families and ancestors. Sharing personal experiences and stories is not only valuable for promoting understanding — it can help us see the world from different perspectives. Our stories shape us and the way we interact with each other and the world.
Stories are an integral part of mental health. It’s through stories that we build connections, make sense of our realities, find support, and reduce stigma. Stories of humanity, healing, and new possibilities. It’s also through listening to our clients and their stories that Occupational Therapists help clients get back to the activities they love. OT Works! supports CMHA Mental Health Week (May 1-7, 2023) and this year’s theme: #MyStory.
Understanding Mental Health
Mental health is the state of our psychological and emotional well-being. It encompasses our emotions, feelings of connection, thoughts, and the ability to manage life’s highs and lows. Throughout our lives, we will all experience periods of positive and negative mental health.
Everyone has mental health
Mental health and mental illness are often used interchangeably, but it’s important to note that they are not the same. Mental health is always there and may be positive or negative. Mental illness, however, affects a person’s ability to function over a long period. Someone without a mental illness could experience poor mental health, just as a person living with a mental illness could experience excellent mental health.
The presence or absence of a mental illness is not a predictor of good mental health
Mental health is part of every one of us and in all areas of our lives. We bring it with us to our workplaces, schools, our hobbies, recreational activities, and our places of worship – everywhere we go in our communities our mental health is with us.
Everyone deserves to have the right supports and resources available to foster good mental health
Mental illnesses are caused by a complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality, and environmental factors. They are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behaviour associated with significant distress and impaired functioning.
One-third of people in Canada will experience a mental illness or substance use disorder in their lifetime.
With the right support, people with mental illnesses can thrive. Just as we take care of our physical health, there are many ways we can help take care of our mental health.
Look after your mental health
Everyone can take steps to take care of their mental health.
Building and nurturing support networks
Feeling connected to others and to our community not only provides us with a sense of belonging but ensures we have people to lean on when we need to. Friends, family members, co-workers, neighbours, and romantic partners can all be great connections.
Identifying and feeling our emotions
Having good mental health doesn’t mean feeling happy all the time. It means being able to identify and experience the wide range of emotions that all humans go through and managing them in a way that is respectful to you and others around you.
Move your body in a way that feels good for you. This can include walking, dancing, running, swimming, stretching, and playing with your kids or animals. Moving your body 20 minutes per day decreases tension levels and improves anxiety, depression, dementia, cognition, and quality of life.
Trying a new hobby or sport
Inviting fun and creativity into our routines can help minimize stress and reduce anxiety and depression. Make time for the things that bring you meaning and joy! Whether it’s knitting, reading, bike riding, or baking, there are endless possibilities and activities to get involved in.
Mindfulness is purposely bringing one’s attention to the present moment. When our minds are cluttered, it can be difficult to notice our feelings. Practicing mindfulness and breathing exercises can help calm your mind, become more aware, and create better connections with yourself and others.
Being kind to ourselves
While we can’t stop our minds from thinking, we can change how we talk to ourselves. Take a moment and listen to your inner voice. What’s it telling you? Sometimes we don’t realize the amount of negative self-talk we engage in until we stop and listen. We could all benefit from growing our compassionate voice which might sound like how we speak to our loved ones.
Looking for help
Safely sharing your stories and struggles with a professional can also be helpful. A mental health professional can support you on your journey to becoming healthier!
Occupational Therapy, Mental Health, and Stories
Occupational Therapists (OTs) can listen to your stories in a professional, safe, non-judgmental, and respectful way.
Our OTs provide trauma-informed care and can help you get back to the activities that are meaningful to you.
Supporting clients and their mental health is exactly what OTs do!
OTs can help you find and build the right supports, identify your emotions, get active, try new fun and creative activities, practice mindfulness, and reframe the way you think and speak to yourself. Ultimately, OTs can help you get back to the life you love!
At OT Works!, our occupational therapists recognize the importance of listening and understanding. Our therapists are experienced in providing support for mental health issues. Our therapists at OT Works! are certified with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) and have training in areas such as mental health, brain injury rehabilitation, home safety, and chronic pain.
If you or someone you know needs mental health support, contact us today.
Phone: 604.696.1066 ext. 1000.
- CMHA Mental Health Week
- Sharing your Story Safely by the Mental Health Commission of Canada
- Wellness Together: mental health support for people in Canada and Canadians abroad. Always free and virtual, 24/7.
- Bounce Back: A free, evidence-based program designed to help adults and youth experiencing symptoms of mild to moderate depression, low mood, or stress, with or without anxiety.
OT Works! would like to thank CMHA for supplying parts of the content for this post.