Susan Bazyk, Louise Demirjian, Teri LaGuardia, Karen Thompson-Repas, Carol Conway, Paula Michaud; Building Capacity of Occupational Therapy Practitioners to Address the Mental Health Needs of Children and Youth: A Mixed-Methods Study of Knowledge Translation. Am J Occup Ther 2015;69(6):6906180060. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.019182
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© 2021 American Occupational Therapy Association
PURPOSE. We explored the meaning and outcomes of a 6-mo building capacity process designed to promote knowledge translation of a public health approach to mental health among pediatric occupational therapy practitioners participating in a Community of Practice.
METHOD. A one-group (N = 117) mixed-methods design using a pretest–posttest survey and qualitative analysis of written reflections was used to explore the meaning and outcomes of the building capacity process.
RESULTS. Statistically significant improvements (p < .02) in pretest–posttest scores of knowledge, beliefs, and actions related to a public health approach to mental health were found. Qualitative findings suggest that participation resulted in a renewed commitment to addressing children’s mental health.
CONCLUSION. The building capacity process expanded practitioner knowledge, renewed energy, and promoted confidence, resulting in change leaders empowered to articulate, advocate for, and implement practice changes reflecting occupational therapy’s role in addressing children’s mental health.
Three 3-hr face-to-face meetings scheduled at the beginning, middle, and end of the 6-mo process and held during the evening in a central location
Participation in six online discussions involving reading, written reflections, and participant sharing.
Almost immediately following our first meeting, I started reframing mental illness to a mental health continuum in my mind . . . and with this reframing to include mental health, our opportunities in the school system and community are numerous. My change in practice since our first meeting has been to actively and unashamedly promote joyful activity engagement.
I have really been making a paradigm shift to the understanding of “mental health” being more than the absence of “mental illness” and have been more aware of the different ways I address mental health, making sure that I label it as mental health promotion.
Being a part of this experience has really opened my eyes to the meaning of the words mental health. It has revealed to me the deep need for not only having a strong knowledge base in this area, but also being an advocate for promoting overall mental wellness in our children.
I think this experience has helped me be more confident about expanding my practice to students who are not on my caseload. I have now been reaching out to students, primarily ones who are Tier 1 and 2, to help them successfully navigate the school experience.
I’ve made bigger changes by getting more involved in PBIS [positive behavioral interventions and supports] and SEL [social and emotional learning] in my school . . . and am excited about implementing the cafeteria and recess programs in two charter schools before providing them in a huge school.
We are having a Mental Health Fair in May using the 10 Actions for Happiness. We have presented the 10 Great Dream ideas at 10 staff meetings and labeled them “Mental Health Moments.” For our fair . . . we have partnered with the graphic arts class to make fliers. . . . This experience has given me a framework to educate and collaborate with coworkers.
A dynamic, bidirectional relationship between practitioners and researchers that values both research and practice knowledge
A variety of learning strategies including reading, reflection, and face-to-face and online discussions that occur over time within a CoP
The use of readings that synthesize and apply research within an occupational therapy framework and that provide practical strategies and resources for implementation.
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