Our mental health occupational therapists deliver care that helps people with mental health difficulties to participate in the activities of everyday life.

Members of our team talk about working as an occupational therapist in mental health services at the RMH

What our occupational therapists do

Our occupational therapists provide discipline-specific services, in addition to general mental health care.

Our services are delivered based on thorough assessment and joint planning with consumers to establish their goals and intervention needs.

We deliver care embedded within occupational therapy frameworks, as well as the Victorian recovery model and best practice guidelines.

Aims of occupational therapy

The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enable people to participate in the activities of everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by:

  • Enabling people to do activities that will enhance their ability to participate
  • Modifying the environment to better support participation

This might include:

  • Looking after themselves – support and enhance self-care, domestic tasks and safety
  • Participating in and enjoying activities of daily life – enable access and engagement to meaningful leisure activity
  • Accessing the community – enable capacity to belong to the community through meaningful occupation and social contact or supporting access through the use of public transport or driving 
  • Goal setting and motivation – provide opportunities to choose, start and complete meaningful attainable goals, through supported process
  • Contributing to social and economic communities – support consumers to maintain or start new roles, including parenting, study, volunteering and employment
  • Understanding the impact of illness on the ability to participate – a holistic understanding of motor, sensory and process skills in the ability to start, continue and complete tasks and how these may be overcome

Areas of expertise

Our occupational therapists specialise in the following four practice areas:

  • Sensory modulation – Supporting consumers to understand their sensory preferences and develop strategies to self-manage their wellbeing in everyday life, as well as during times of high stress or distress
  • Group work – Group work is a key intervention provided by the multidisciplinary teams in all our services and programs
  • Vocation – Supporting consumers to discover and participate in activities and roles that provide meaning and purpose such as employment, studying, volunteering, and recreation
  • Driving – Promoting safe driving, education about consumer driver responsibilities, fitness to drive and providing specialist driver assessments when needed

Our occupational therapists engage enthusiastically in developing and delivering these practice areas, supported by peers and with supervision. Our occupational therapists endeavour to progress the evidence base for each of these practice areas through quality improvement initiatives and research.


Our occupational therapy service has developed strong relationships with local universities and supports undergraduate clinical placements, research and training.

We have a lead research Occupational Therapy position in partnership with Deakin University, and have developed a clear research strategy that encourages clinicians to engage in research and knowledge translation activities.

Read more about our mental health occupational therapy research.

Support for our occupational therapists

Our occupational therapists are supported to:

  • Attend to their professional development needs, with comprehensive training opportunities available both internally and via external organisations
  • Access genuine support to extend their career into leadership, management, education or research pathways
  • Engage in regular supervision with experienced clinicians
  • Attend regular occupational therapy meetings, including journal review, in-service education and peer support

Entry Level Program for new graduates

We offer an entry-level program to new graduates that provides a supported introduction to occupational therapy in mental health, with a focus on skill development. Entry-level occupational therapists in the program receive supervision and guidance from a senior occupational therapist, and are connected with a vibrant, dynamic peer group of occupational therapists working across our service.

Our entry-level positions are fixed term, for 24 months. The entry-level program provides a structure of education, supervision and clinical experience that aims at developing participants to be ready for Grade 2 clinical positions.

Recruitment requirements

All occupational therapists employed with us must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Find out current vacancies on our jobs portal.

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Last updated 02 November 2022