An undergraduate mental health pathway.
Article Type: Letter to the editor
Subject: Mental health (Educational aspects)
Occupational therapy (Study and teaching)
Medical students (Psychological aspects)
Authors: Bannigan, Katrina
Cotterill, Diane
Lewis, Patsy
Wolverson, Caroline
Pub Date: 07/01/2011
Publication: Name: British Journal of Occupational Therapy Publisher: College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 College of Occupational Therapists Ltd. ISSN: 0308-0226
Issue: Date: July, 2011 Source Volume: 74 Source Issue: 7
Accession Number: 262495831
Full Text: Madam,

We were interested to read the letter by Neville (2011) in response to our opinion piece about developing a mental health pathway in undergraduate programmes (Bannigan et al 2011). As her tutors, we are delighted to see one of our students engaging in wider debate within the profession. She shares our concern about the future of occupational therapy programmes, but her diagnosis and solution are different. It is our contention that narrowing the scope of practice within education through the provision of different pathways will allow a stronger focus on occupation in both mental and physical health pathways. Given the number of drivers shaping, and stakeholders with an investment in, occupational therapy education, it is not clear to us how occupational therapy education can continue as it is without something giving, especially if we are to continue to provide a quality educational experience. In discussion, others have suggested that they do not agree with our opinion piece. What other suggestions or ideas do people have? Is there a problem that needs to be addressed or is our analysis misdirected?

As an aside, we would like to emphasise that although not always explicitly stated, the core skills of occupational therapy are embedded in all modules in occupational therapy programmes. Students are encouraged to develop their professional reasoning to allow them to identify a relationship between the wider learning points and their core skills, as stated by Creek (2003). This is done to integrate, rather than compartmentalise, learning experiences, but perhaps we need to make this approach clearer to students?

Bannigan K, Lewis P, Laver-Fawcett A, Wolverson C, Long C, Cadman D, Cotterill D (2011) Is it time for a mental health pathway in undergraduate programmes? British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(4), 153-55.

Creek J (2003) Occupational therapy defined as a complex intervention. London: College of Occupational Therapists.

Neville D (2011)A mental health pathway. (Letter.) British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(4), 204.

Katrina Bannigan, Diane Cotterill, Patsy Lewis and Caroline Wolverson, York St John University, York.
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