Mental Health Occupational Therapist First Contact Practitioners can see patients straight away when they contact their GP surgery with a mental health concern. These highly skilled and experienced clinicians can complete advanced risk assessments, including suicide and self-harm and have the ability to manage crisis.

PICS has recruited a number of people in these roles across Nottinghamshire, working across groups of General Practices in Arnold, Broxtowe, Mansfield and Carlton, and within our Community Pain Team that covers all of Norttinghamshire including Bassetlaw.

During their detailed assessments, the Mental Health Occupational Therapist is able to determine the best management plan, this can include rehabilitation, talking therapies, discussing medication with the Doctors or onward referrals where indicated.

Should a patient be starting pharmacology management, the MHOT is able to provide support until the therapeutic dose has been reached.

How do Mental Health OTs work?

MHOTs have 45 minutes to complete an initial assessment allowing the clinician to assess mental state, listen to the patient and explore their concerns. They have time to discuss personalised gold standard treatment plans.

The current research is showing they deliver fewer onward referrals, less need for medication management and earlier returns to work.

MHOTs offer support which focuses on how mental health may be affecting people’s daily life. Their intervention helps with anxiety and mood management, regulating emotions, developing motivation and interest levels, re-engaging in hobbies and important roles within a person’s life.

Together with the patient, the MHOT will develop a plan to support a person’s mental health, enabling the person to be more independent and feel more in control of their daily life.

Top 5 benefits:

  1. Reduces onward referral
  2. Patients get thorough assessments and a management plan or rehabilitation in the initial appointment
  3. Reduce pharmacology
  4. Reduce GP case load
  5. Sees the right person first time

Snippets of patient feedback

“MHOT helped me a lot and I now have a plan to get myself back to work and doing the things I enjoy in my spare time.”

“Feel very supported and listened to. No pressure and only useful suggestions on treatment and how to improve. Lots of understanding and not rushed.”

“I was allowed to talk about me and my situation. The MHOT listened and responded accordingly.”

“I was able to speak and feel listened to and understood. The questions asked helped me explain what I need help with and I’m happy with the plan I have in place.”

“I was worried I would just be offered medication and put on a waiting list for already overstretched mental health services. The MHOT understood the impact my physical health was having on my mental health and offered appropriate referral options and signposted me to other useful services.”

Hear from PICS Mental Health Occupational Therapist Catherine Seals who works with residents in Broxtowe:

Health and wellbeing services in NHS surgeries – YouTube