Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


In the United States, one in five adults are impacted by some form of mental illness in any given year, but only about 40% of individuals seek professional mental health support. While occupational therapists (OT) may work with individuals with mental illness to improve social skills, activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental ADLs, and neurocognitive interventions, research suggests there is not enough emphasis on this content in professional OT education. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is designed to educate individuals on mental illness, including how to recognize signs and symptoms and how to support individuals experiencing a concern or crisis. This study examined changes in stigma, knowledge, and confidence among OT students following MHFA training, and compared to a control group. Results demonstrated improved knowledge and confidence within the experimental group, highlighting the impact of MHFA training in this population.


Jennifer Ostrowski, PhD, LAT, ATC is an Associate Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at Moravian University in Bethlehem, PA. She has more than 30 peer-reviewed publications and presentations in the area of psychosocial aspects and mental health education.

Sarah Sampson, Erin McGoldrick, Courtney Karabin, and Kyra Shields were students at Moravian University at the time of this study.

Declaration of Interest

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.