Meet Katy Lovick: Occupational Therapist 

We’re pleased to welcome Katy Lovick, new occupational therapist, to OT Works! 

Katy joined OT Works! in January 2024. She brings with her a wealth of experience in helping clients with various diagnoses, such as brain injuries, neurological conditions, physical injuries, amputations, and mixed diagnoses. 
 
Katy holds a master’s degree in occupational therapy from Glasgow Caledonian University, and a Bachelor of Sport & Fitness Leadership – specialization in exercise and wellness, from Camosun College.
Katy is passionate about the versatility of occupational therapy and has worked in both private and public health sectors. She embraces a client-centered approach, recognizing that everyone has unique strengths and challenges on their path to recovery. Katy has successfully supported clients in meaningful activities, including daily living tasks, returning to work, and engaging with their communities. She brings professionalism, experience, and a commitment to excellence to every client interaction.  

In her spare time, Katy enjoys all the nature that Vancouver Island has to offer, travelling and getting active.
 
Katy serves a diverse clientele, including individuals covered by WSBC, ICBC, private-paying clients, and those with extended health/disability insurance. She provides her services across South Vancouver Island, including Victoria, Langford, Saanich, and Sidney. 

Katy is a full registrant and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).     

We’re thrilled to have her on board and look forward to the positive impact she’ll make in our community. 

Get started with an OT    

If you would like Katy’s help with your recovery or if someone you know could benefit from occupational therapy, contact us today! 

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com    

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000.   

What to expect of an Occupational Therapy Assessment 

An occupational therapy assessment is an important first step in your recovery journey. That’s when your OT will understand where you’re at, what you are struggling with, and where you want to go next. It also helps the OT justify funding for treatment services, if needed, and develop a safe, effective treatment plan. 
 
Our dedicated Occupational Therapists (OTs) are committed to providing you with individualized, meaningful, and creative ways to support your recovery journey. 
Recovering from an injury is hard, but getting back to the activities you love is worth it! 

Occupational Therapists are unique 

OTs are university-trained, certified, and regulated by the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).   

What sets OTs apart is their holistic approach to your needs. Unlike other professions that focus on either physical or emotional parts of your injury, OTs consider physical, cognitive, emotional, cultural and environmental factors to ensure that your recovery is safe, meaningful and effective. They also focus and build upon your strengths and priorities. 

OTs meet you in real-life environments: at your home, workplace, and community settings, ensuring that the treatment aligns with your reality and daily life and has real impact. 

Occupational Therapy can help in a variety of situations, including but not limited to: 

  • Home safety  
  • Ergonomics 
  • Activation 
  • Mood management 
  • Concussion rehabilitation 
  • Community access 
  • Return to work 

Our OTs help you getting better and improving your quality of life. 
Our OTs have experience in providing OT treatment for physical injuries, mental health concerns, and brain injuries. They are passionate about delivering quality treatments tailored to your unique needs.  

What to expect from your OT assessment 

When someone requests the help of our OTs, we get any necessary medical information to ensure a safe assessment, and we choose an occupational therapist with the right skill set and approach to assist you. However, the OT assessment primarily involves an in-person meeting with you.  

Some important information about the assessment: 

  • Location: Most assessments occur at your home, but may also occur at your workplace, or somewhere else in your community, depending on what is being assessed. Some specialized assessments may be conducted at our clinic in New Westminster. 
  • Duration: Typically, 2-3 hours. 
  • Components: Review of what to expect, risks and benefits (consent), an interview, observations of your daily activities, and standardized tests or questionnaires. 

Your therapist will be on time, and treat you with respect, care, professionalism, and courtesy throughout the assessment. There is no judgement, nor expectation that you clean or prepare refreshments ahead of time. 

If you anticipate being at all uncomfortable, just let your therapist know in advance, and invite a friend or family member to attend with you. 

We expect that you provide more than 24 hours’ notice if you need to change the assessment time.  

Getting ready for your OT assessment 

Preparing for your assessment is easy: 

  • Gather Information: Relevant medical details, recent test results, and current medications. 
  • Review Daily Activities: Consider your daily routine and note areas of difficulty. 
  • Communicate: Share your goals, concerns, and relevant information during the assessment. Ask lots of questions. 
  • Wear Comfortable Clothing: Choose clothes that allows for easy movement.  
  • Be ready to “do”: the OT may ask you to show how you do certain tasks (or portions of tasks) around the house, such as sweeping, making the bed, working on the computer or emptying the dishwasher. You will not be asked to do anything that is unsafe, and the OT will provide tips and strategies to make things easier on you, right away. 

Collaborative Plan for Treatment 

Before completing the assessment, the OT will briefly review their findings, explore your personal, functional goals, and review possible treatments for feedback. Examples of what an OT may recommend could include: equipment, learning and practicing techniques or strategies, grading tasks (gradually making them more challenging), homework between sessions and/or referral to other health care professionals. 

At OT Works!, our therapists take a collaborative approach. We listen to you, design treatment plans, and set goals with your input to ensure that your recovery is not only meaningful but also appropriate to your situation. 

We communicate directly using your preferred method, welcoming feedback to enhance each client’s experience. 

What happens after the OT assessment 


Confidential Report 

The OT prepares a comprehensive report detailing functional strengths, difficulties and treatment recommendations. With your consent, this report can be shared with medical providers and funding parties.  

Approval 

If OT treatment services are recommended, the plan and goals are shared with the funder for approval (whether that’s an insurance representative, family member or other party). Ideally, occupational therapy treatment is approved and initiated within one week of the in-person assessment. Sometimes the OT will set up your first treatment session, as they leave the assessment, in anticipation of this.  

However, there can sometimes be delays in obtaining approval. Your therapist will keep you updated on the process if this is the case and will advocate for service on your behalf. They also may provide you with some activities or strategies to get started with, on your own, if appropriate and safe, to facilitate an early recovery. 

Once treatment is underway, your engagement, motivation and feedback will help pave the way to a new you, and the meaningful life you seek. 

Contact us for your Occupational Therapy assessment 

If you or someone you know could benefit from an occupational therapy assessment, don’t hesitate to contact us today! 

Email: referrals@ot-works.com 
Vancouver: 604.696.1066 
Victoria: 250.999.8896 

OT Works! Holiday Hours

OT Works! will be closed during the holidays.   

We will be back to our regular hours on January 02, 2024, when we will be accepting new clients in Vancouver, Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Sea-to-Sky, Sunshine Coast, Victoria, Nanaimo, and the Comox Valley.  

Monday, December 18, 2023 Open, 9 am-5 pm  
Tuesday, December 19, 2023 Open, 9 am-5 pm  
Wednesday, December 20, 2023 Open, 9 am-5 pm  
Thursday, December 21, 2023 Open, 9 am-5 pm  
Friday, December 22, 2023 Open, 9 am-5 pm  
Monday, December 25, 2023  Closed  
Tuesday, December 26, 2023 Closed  
Wednesday, December 27, 2023  Closed  
Thursday, December 28, 2023 Closed  
Friday, December 29, 2023 Closed  
Monday, January 01, 2024 Closed  
Tuesday, January 02, 2024  Open, 9 am-5 pm  

Regular business hours resume on January 02.  

We wish you a very Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year!   

Get started with an OT  

Our therapists at OT Works! are registered and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).  Our approach is based on current research and evidence-based practice.  

If you or someone you know could benefit from occupational therapy, contact us today!  

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com
Vancouver:  604.696.1066   
Victoria: 250.999.8896 

Start Occupational Therapy after a car accident

Get help. Get better. Get well.

Ask for OT for your ICBC claim.

Ask for OT

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 is fully covered by ICBC.

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. 

ICBC must approve OT services before you start with an OT.

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:

You need a GP referral (or Doctor’s note) for ICBC to pay for OT services.

What do I need to get started? 

You will need to provide some personal information, ICBC claim details, and a GP note. 

Your GP note should state the reason for referral and how it’s related to the MVA.

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! 

Photo by Daniel Xavier from Pexels

Meet Heidi Nygard: Occupational Therapist 

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! 

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com    

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000.   

Join us in celebrating Occupational Therapy: October is OT Month!  

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.  

To have real impact, and truly make a difference in our clients’ lives, we must work together. Every discipline brings different tools and perspectives, and when we coordinate our efforts and focus on the client’s goals, meaningful change happens.” 

Pamela Russell, Clinical Director, OT Works!

Lighting up the country for World OT Day  

Photo by BC Place Stadium

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.  

Learn more 

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: 

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapy (CAOT)  

World Federation of Occupational Therapy  

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. 

Areas served

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: 

Email:referrals@ot-works.com

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. 




 

Introducing Karen, Parisa, and Simone: Occupational Therapists

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! 

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com 

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000.  

Meet Micaylee, Yasmine, and Brenden: Occupational Therapists 

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!   

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com   

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000.   

Mental Health Week – #MyStory 

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. 

Being active 

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. 

Practicing mindfulness 

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! 

Contact Us 

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.  

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com   

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000.  

Learn More 

  • 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.