Designation of Occupational Therapy Practitioners as Qualified Mental Health Professionals: Educational Preparation

Document Type


Publication Date



Occupational Therapy


The purpose of this study was to examine the educational standards of occupational therapy programs to identify potential barriers to the profession's inclusion as Qualified Mental Health Professionals (QMHP). A one-group, mixed-methods design with a questionnaire and an interview was used to determine how educational standards support the profession's potential recognition as QMHPs. Eligible participants included educators from accredited occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant programs. Among the 108 faculty that completed the survey, 45.4% were faculty at occupational therapy programs, and 54.6% were faculty at occupational therapy assistant programs. Quantitative data analysis indicated that 62% of participants believed entry-level occupational therapists met their state's requirements of a QMHP. Additionally, 39.8% of respondents indicated occupational therapy assistants met these same requirements. In reference to content delivery, respondents indicated that the geriatric, pediatric, adult, inpatient, outpatient, community-based, and non-traditional content were most commonly delivered via lecture, followed by a lab, clinical experience, and service-learning, respectively, with only one exception. Occupational therapy screening and evaluation delivery were most commonly delivered through a lab, then lecture, clinical experience, and service-learning, respectively. Moreover, 58.3% of participants indicated that their program requires a mental health placement for both Level I and II Fieldworks. To increase the support for entry-level occupational therapy practitioners meeting the QMHP requirements, further research on content delivery methods and additional educational experiences are needed. This may strengthen entry-level practitioners' confidence and competence in mental health practice, further supporting the profession's role in mental health.

First Advisor

Ranelle Nissen

Second Advisor

Moses Ikiugu

Research Area

Occupational Therapy

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