Occupational Therapy (OT) – Patient information leaflet

An information leaflet which explains what Occupational Therapy (OT) is, why you might need it, the benefits of OT and how to access it.

This leaflet may not be reproduced in whole or in part, without the permission of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

  • Introduction

    We hope that this leaflet will provide you with information about Occupational Therapy. If you are not sure about anything in this leaflet please ask a member of staff.

    Occupational Therapists work within multi professional teams alongside nurses, psychiatrists and psychologists to support you in your recovery.

  • What is Occupational Therapy?

    When you experience mental health issues, daily activities can become more difficult to manage or stop all together. The focus of Occupational Therapy is to help towards your recovery through establishing or resuming a healthy pattern of meaningful activities. In order to understand your needs, Occupational Therapy staff will get to know you to find out about:
    • The place where you live and the places you go to as well as who you spend your time with and the resources you have to support you.
    • Your motivation to do the things that are most important to you, your confidence in your own abilities and your hopes for the future.
    • The day to day roles and responsibilities that you have and your relationships with the people around you.
    • What you do on a daily or weekly basis how your time is organised and whether you have a balance between self-care, work and leisure.
    • The abilities and skills that you have and need every day to concentrate on your tasks, physically manage what you need to do and get along with others.

  • Why do I need Occupational Therapy?

    If you have been affected by changes in your mental health or circumstances around you, you may be experiencing difficulties in the following areas:

    Looking after yourself
    • Taking care of your general wellbeing and safety – your physical and mental health
    • Managing your basic personal needs, such as eating, washing and dressing
    • Coping with domestic tasks, such as shopping and cooking

    Doing things you enjoy
    • Developing your interests, relaxing and having fun
    • Enjoying activities that meet your physical, social, emotional, cultural and spiritual needs
    • Being with others and maintaining a social network

    Being productive
    • Caring for your home and for others – your family, your friends and your pets
    • Meeting your responsibilities as a student, a volunteer or a worker
    • Being part of your local community

  • What are the benefits of Occupational Therapy?

    Occupational Therapy focuses on both resuming and developing the skills you need to help you with your recovery. What you do changes how you feel and has the power to change your life. Feeling able to manage the things that are important to you, and being as independent as possible can have a positive effect on your health. Occupational Therapy staff can help you identify needs relating to these areas, and work with you to set your own goals and consider how you could meet them.

  • How can I access Occupational Therapy?

    You can be referred for an Occupational Therapy assessment by your GP or a health professional that you are already working with.

  • Interpreters

    If you would like an interpreter, staff will be able to help you get one.

  • What if I have a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint about the service?

    If you want to make a comment, suggestion, compliment or complaint you can:
    • talk to the people directly involved in your care
    • ask a member of staff for a feedback form, or complete a form on the Trust website www.cntw.nhs.uk (click on the ‘Contact Us’ tab)
    • telephone the Complaints Department 0191 245 6672
    • email [email protected] Please note that information sent to the Trust via email is sent at your own risk
    • We are always looking at ways to improve services. Your feedback allows us to monitor the quality of our services and act upon issues that you bring to our attention.
    You can provide feedback in the following ways:
    – the quickest way for you to do this is to complete our short online survey at
    – complete a Points of You survey, available from staff.

  • Useful websites and further information

    • Royal College of Occupational Therapists – www.rcot.co.uk
    • Health and Care Professionals Council – www.hcpc-uk.org 
    • Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust – www.cntw.nhs.uk

  • Other formats, references and review

    Further information about the content, reference sources or production of this leaflet can be obtained from the Patient Information Centre. If you would like to tell us what you think about this leaflet please get in touch.

    This information can be made available in a range of formats on request (eg Braille, audio, larger print, easy read, BSL or other languages). Please contact the Patient Information Centre Tel: 0191 246 7288

    Published by the Patient Information Centre
    2022 Copyright, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
    Ref, PIC/776/0522 May 2022 V3
    www.cntw.nhs.uk Tel: 0191 246 7288
    Review date 2025