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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.


  • Short name

    Front. Psychiatry

  • Abbreviation


  • Electronic ISSN


  • Indexed in

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


    All published articles receive a PMCID

  • Impact

    3.2 Impact Factor

    6.2 CiteScore


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.

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

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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.


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  • 2023

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