Mental health is a government priority for service improvement and modernisation in the United Kingdom. Policy initiatives drive and direct new methods of service delivery, new ways of working and new goals for tackling the negative consequences of mental ill health. Policy themes in the four UK nations include: involving service users and carers in the development and evaluation of services; focusing on health promotion and disease prevention; supporting social and psychological recovery; recognising the importance of employment; promoting social inclusion; increasing the quality and equality of access to health and social care, and requiring interventions to be based on the best available evidence.
These policies have profound implications for occupational therapists working in mental health services. Recovering ordinary lives identifies clearly their unique contribution and provides direction for the development of the profession in this field. The strategy was developed through extensive consultation with occupational therapists, service users, carers and other key stakeholders.
The aims of this strategy are twofold: to reassert the importance of occupation to health and wellbeing, and to develop a vision and principles that will guide occupational therapy practice within rapidly changing social and political environments. The strategy reaffirms our commitment to working in partnership with service users and carers in all areas of occupational therapy practice and to ensuring that occupational therapy services are accessible and timely, so that they meet the needs of the people who use them.