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Scope

Mental health is important throughout our lives from childhood and adolescence through adulthood and ageing for the realisation of overall health and wellbeing. Occupational therapy as a discipline has deep roots within the mental health field. From its beginning use of occupations that could be grounding, restorative of meanings and healthy routines in daily life, and support healing for adults experiencing mental distress and those traumatised by war in the early 20th century to its present day focus on mental health promotion, early intervention, and services to address the often profound activity disruptions and participation restrictions experienced by children, youth and adults with mental health issues.

Mental health occupational therapy is diverse and transcends specific health and community settings. It is underpinned by recognition that mental health is intimately interconnected with the range of everyday occupations that people do to care for themselves and others, to learn, work, enjoy life, and contribute to their communities. Many kinds of occupations have potential to contribute to mental, emotional and social wellbeing, as well as to processes of recovery, yet their value, meaning and potential to support recovery are also personal, so that mental health occupational therapy practices also tend to personalised and situational in nature. Everyday living, recovery and wellness also occur within relationships with family, friends, peers and communities, so that they too are contextualised by culture, experiences of difference, discrimination and social determinants that not only impact mental health but also people’s opportunities to participate in their communities and shape their own lives.

Knowledge and understanding of the complex interrelationships between mental health, social connections, activity participation and recovery is rapidly increasing, as is recognition that non-pharmacological interventions and support options, rather than being peripheral, should be central to services offered to most people who experience mental health issues. Learning from experiential knowledge of people who use services is essential not only to advancing understanding of how everyday occupations can contribute to recovery and wellbeing across the lifespan but also to the further development, research and evaluation of mental health occupational therapy services.

Our aim is to publish primary research and other forms of evidence such as reviews that advance our knowledge of occupation based practices and their contribution to recovery and wellbeing, as well as opportunities for people to learn, develop their potential, access essential resources, and meaningfully participate within communities of their choosing. The following list of topics is illustrative of areas covered by this section, but is not exhaustive:

• Mental health occupational therapy in services for children, adolescents/youth, adults or older adults
• Person-centred, strengths-focused, recovery-oriented and trauma-informed individual and group approaches in mental health occupational therapy
• Family and carer focused mental health occupational therapy practices
• Occupational therapy approaches in mental health practice that address disruptions to time use/occupational balance, the development of life skills and habits, and lifestyle modification
• Occupational therapy approaches in mental health practice that address participation restrictions in work, school/education or play/recreation and/or aim to create inclusive and supportive places for participation
• Lived experience of strategies for everyday living and fostering wellness in the context of mental ill-health, and of occupational therapy services
• Issues of diversity, difference, stigma, discrimination and socio-cultural contexts in relation to mental health occupational therapy practices
• Mental health occupational therapy practices and research involving co-production and collaboration with people who use services
• Implementation of evidence-informed mental health occupational therapy practices
• Occupational therapy workforce and professional development issues in mental health practice
• Occupational therapy education for mental health practice

The Mental Health Occupational Therapy section welcomes submissions of manuscripts that adopt diverse methodologies, including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods, as well as evidence reviews. Submissions of collaborative, participatory and inclusive research that advance knowledge in this field are also encouraged.

Frontiers in Psychiatry is member of the Committee on Publication Ethics.

Facts

  • Short name

    Front. Psychiatry

  • Abbreviation

    fpsyt

  • Electronic ISSN

    1664-0640

  • Indexed in

    PubMed, PubMed Central (PMC), Scopus, Google Scholar, DOAJ, CrossRef, PsycINFO, Embase, CLOCKSS, Social Science Citation Index (SSCI)

  • PMCID

    All published articles receive a PMCID

  • Impact

    3.2 Impact Factor

    6.2 CiteScore

Submission

Mental Health Occupational Therapy welcomes submissions of the following article types: Brief Research Report, Case Report, Clinical Trial, Community Case Study, Correction, Editorial, General Commentary, Hypothesis & Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Opinion, Original Research, Perspective, Review, Study Protocol, Systematic Review.

All manuscripts must be submitted directly to the section Mental Health Occupational Therapy, where they are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the specialty section.

Open access statement

Open access logo

Frontiers' philosophy is that all research is for the benefit of humankind. Research is the product of an investment by society and therefore its fruits should be returned to all people without borders or discrimination, serving society universally and in a transparent fashion.

That is why Frontiers provides online free and open access to all of its research publications. For more information on open access click here.

Open access funder and institutional mandates

Frontiers is fully compliant with open access mandates, by publishing its articles under the Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY). Funder mandates such as those by the Wellcome Trust (UK), National Institutes of Health (USA) and the Australian Research Council (Australia) are fully compatible with publishing in Frontiers. Authors retain copyright of their work and can deposit their publication in any repository. The work can be freely shared and adapted provided that appropriate credit is given and any changes specified.

Quality

Each Frontiers article strives for the highest quality, thanks to genuinely collaborative interactions between authors, editors and reviewers, who include many of the world's best scientists and scholars. Frontiers is well aware of the potential impact of published research both on future research and on society and, hence, does not support superficial review, light review or no-review publishing models.

Frontiers uses the single anonymized peer review model, where the reviewer identity is not made visible to the author, while the author identity is visible to the reviewer, and reviewer and the authors’ identities are visible to the decision-making editor. Reviewers interact with the handling editor and the authors. Editor and reviewer names and affiliations are published on all Frontiers articles.

Research must be certified by peers before entering a stream of knowledge that may eventually reach the public - and shape society. Therefore, Frontiers only applies the most rigorous and unbiased reviews, established in the high standards of the Frontiers Review System. Furthermore, only the top certified research, evaluated objectively through quantitative online article level metrics, is disseminated to increasingly wider communities as it gradually climbs the tiers of the Frontiers Tiering System from specialized expert readership towards public understanding.

Frontiers has a number of procedures in place to support and ensure the quality of the research articles that are published:

  • 2023

    • Editorial Board Quality

      • Only leading experts and established members of the research community are appointed to the Frontiers Editorial Boards. Chief Editors, Associate Editors and Review Editors are all listed with their names and affiliations on the Journal pages and are encouraged to publicly list their publication credentials.

    • Associate Editor Assignment Quality

      • Associate Editors oversee the peer-review and take the final acceptance decision on manuscripts. Editorial decision power is distributed in Frontiers, because we believe that many experts within a community should be able to shape the direction of science for the benefit of society.

      • Submitting authors can choose a preferred Associate Editor to handle their manuscript, because they can judge well who would be an appropriate expert in editing their manuscript. There is no guarantee for this preference of choice, Associate Editors can decline invitations any time, and the handling Associate Editor can also be over-ridden by the Chief Editor before she/he is invited to edit the article or at any other stage.

      • Associate Editors are mandated to only accept to edit a manuscript if they have no conflicts of interest (as stated here and in their review invitation and assignment emails).

      • Should it become clear that the Associate Editor has a conflict of interest or is unable to perform the peer-review timely and adequately, a new Associate Editor can be assigned to the manuscript by the Chief Editor, who has full control to intervene in the peer-review process at any time.

      • The Associate Editor initially checks that the article meets basic quality standards and has no obvious objective errors.

    • Reviewer Assignment Quality

      • The Associate Editor can then personally choose and invite the most appropriate reviewers to handle the peer-review of the manuscript, including Review Editors from the board or external reviewers.

      • The Associate Editor is aided in this by the Frontiers Collaborative Review Forum software and interface, which suggests the most relevant Review Editors based on a match between their expertise and the topic of the manuscript. Associate Editors can however choose any reviewer they deem adequate.

      • After a certain time frame and if no reviewers have in the meantime been assigned to the manuscript, the Frontiers platform and algorithmic safety-net steps in and invites the most appropriate Review Editors based on constantly updated and improved algorithms that match reviewer expertise with the submitted manuscript.

      • Review Editors and reviewers are mandated to only accept to review a manuscript if they have no conflicts of interest (as stated here and in their review invitation and assignment emails).

      • Frontiers algorithms are constantly fine-tuned to better match Review Editors with manuscripts, and additional checks are being coded into the platform, for example regarding conflicts of interest.

      • Should it become clear that a particular reviewer has a conflict of interest or is unable to perform the peer-review timely and adequately, he or she shall be replaced with an alternative reviewer by the Associate Editor or the Chief Editor, who will be alerted and has full control to intervene into the peer-review at any time.

    • Independent Review Stage Quality

      • In the Independent Review Stage the assigned reviewers perform an in-depth review of the article independently of each other to safeguard complete freedom of opinion.

      • The reviewers are aided by an online standardized review questionnaire – adopted to article types – with the goal to facilitate rigorous evaluation according to objective criteria and the Frontiers Review Guidelines.

    • Interactive Review Stage Quality

      • The Associate Editor assesses the reviews and activates the “Interactive Review” – informing the authors of the extent of revisions that are required to address the reviewers’ comments, and starting the Interactive Discussion Forum where authors and also the reviewers get full access to all review reports.

      • Manuscript and review quality at this stage are enhanced by allowing authors and reviewers to discuss directly with each other in real-time until they reach consensus and a final version of the manuscript is endorsed by the reviewers.

      • Reviewer identity is protected at this stage to safeguard complete freedom of opinion.

      • Reviewers can recommend rejection at this stage if their requests to correct objective errors are not being met by the authors or if they deem the article overall of insufficient quality.

      • Should a dispute arise, authors or reviewers can trigger an arbitration and will alert the Associate Editor, who can assign more reviewers and/or bring the dispute to the attention of the Chief Editor. The Associate Editor can also weigh in on the discussion and is asked to mediate the process to ensure a constructive revision stage.

    • Decision Stage Quality

      • The decision to accept an article needs to be unanimous amongst all reviewers and the handling Associate Editor.

      • The names of the Associate Editor and reviewers are disclosed on published articles to encourage in depth and rigorous reviews, acknowledge work well done on the article and to bring transparency and accountability into peer-review.

      • Associate Editors can recommend the rejection of an article to the Chief Editor, who needs to check that the authors’ rights have been upheld during the peer-review process, and who can then ultimately reject the article if it is of insufficient quality, has objective errors or if the authors were unreasonably unwilling to address the points raised during the review.

      • Chief Editors can at any stage of the peer-review step in to comment on the review process, change assigned editors, assign themselves as a reviewer and even as the handling editor for the manuscript, and therefore have full authority and all the mechanisms to act independently in their online editorial office to ensure quality.

    • Safeguards against Financial Conflicts of Interest

      • Only leading researchers acting as Associate Editors, who are not part of Frontiers staff, can make acceptance decisions based on reviews performed by external experts acting as Review Editors or reviewers. None have a financial incentive to accept articles, i.e. they are not paid for their role to act as Associate or Review Editors, and any award scheme is not linked to acceptances of manuscripts.

      • Chief Editors receive an honorarium if their specialty section or field reaches certain submission levels. However, this honorarium is based on the total number of submitted articles during a calendar year, and not the number of accepted articles. Therefore they also have no financial incentive to accept manuscripts.

    • Post-Publication Stage Quality

      • The Frontiers platform enables post-publication commenting and discussions on papers and hence the possibility to critically evaluate articles even after the peer-review process.

      • Frontiers has a community retraction protocol in place to retract papers where serious concerns have been raised and validated by the community that warrant retraction, including ethical concerns, honest errors or scientific misconduct.