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Is there a role for occupational therapy within a specialist child and adolescent mental health eating disorder service?

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In Northern Ireland, only two occupational therapists work within the specialist field of child and adolescent mental health (CAMH). This is despite recommendations made by the Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability (Northern Ireland) that occupational therapy should be a core element of CAMH provision. The College of Occupational Therapists has urged practitioners to challenge inequalities in health and social care provision and to use occupational language to reinforce the relationship between occupation, recovery and wellbeing. This opinion piece highlights occupational therapy core skills and occupational therapy frames of reference or modalities, underlining the application of both to eating disorders. The treatment models discussed are the Model of Human Occupation, the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and sensory integration. Evidence reinforces that the models discussed are applicable, appropriate and valuable when treating children and adolescents with an eating disorder.

It is argued that the valuable and unique role of occupational therapy must be recognised by health and social care commissioners and CAMH providers and be vocalised by occupational therapists. CAMH teams are advised to embrace the unique skills that occupational therapists have to offer children and adolescents with eating disorders in order to ensure that clients receive truly multidisciplinary and client-centred evidence-based services.


Document Type: Short Communication

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4276/030802210X12629548272745

Publication date: January 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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