Document Type (Journals)
Mental health concerns are prevalent among occupational therapy graduate students and entry-level practitioners entering the workforce. Prior research has highlighted that the rise in mental health concerns and the high-achieving nature of occupational therapy students impacts their success in the classroom and the clinic. While formal and informal mental health accommodations are beneficial, obtaining and implementing such accommodations has been cited as a challenging process plagued with negative stigma. This study aimed to understand the perceived effectiveness of common academic and work-related mental health accommodations for meeting the role demands that occupational therapy students and practitioners encounter in the classroom, during fieldwork and capstone, and in entry-level practice. Data were gathered from 218 occupational therapy students and entry-level practitioners who completed an electronic survey, including checklists and Likert scale items. Results include the prevalence of mental health concerns, the use of formal and informal mental health accommodations, and the perceived effectiveness of mental health accommodations in meeting the role demands of occupational therapy students and entry-level practitioners. Participants reported that the commonly prescribed mental health accommodations effectively met role demands in academic and work settings. Qualitative responses to the survey provided a deeper understanding of these perceptions and the barriers students encountered when attaining or implementing such accommodations in the classroom and clinical settings. Implications for occupational therapy education address the prevalence of mental health concerns and the barriers occupational therapy students face when attaining and implementing mental health accommodations.
Allison Naber, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, CLT-LANA: Dr. Allison Naber is the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and an Assistant Professor for the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of South Dakota. Her research interests include the use of meaningful occupations to promote occupational performance among adults and the transition from the occupational therapy classroom to the clinic.
Ranelle Nissen, PhD, OTR/L: Dr. Ranelle Nissen is the Chair and an Associate Professor for the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Interim Associate Dean for Academics for School of Health Sciences at the University of South Dakota.
Whitney Lucas Molitor, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, BCG: Dr. Lucas Molitor is the Interim Associate Chair, an Assistant Professor, and the Capstone Coordinator for the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Program Director for the undergraduate program in Public Health & Health Sciences at the University of South Dakota.
Susan E. Puumala, PHD: Dr. Susan Puumala is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of South Dakota.
Jewel Goodman Shepherd, CHES, MPA, PHD: Dr. Jewel Goodman Shepherd is the Associate Dean for the Business Graduate Programs and an Associate Professor for the Health Services Administration in the Beacom School of Business at the University of South Dakota.
Declaration of Interest
The authors report no declarations of interest.
Naber, A. J., Nissen, R., Lucas Molitor, W., Puumala, S., & Shepherd, J. (2023). Exploring Occupational Therapy Student and Entry-Level Practitioner Perceptions of Mental Health Accommodations. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 7 (3). https://doi.org/10.26681/jote.2023.070304
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