October 26, 2023

Occupational Therapy Week: Unity through Community

This week, we celebrate all the Occupational Therapists (OT) employed at Northern Health. The theme this year is ‘Unity through Community’. This is also Mental Health Awareness Month and today we showcase occupational therapists working in our Mental Health Division. Occupational therapists are employed in a variety of roles including:

  • Clinicians (Grade 1 to Grade 4 general roles) and Clinical Specialist roles
  • Clinical Educators
  • Professional Leaders (Chiefs)
  • Research translation
  • Operational management
  • Projects and service development

This is what they have to say:


“I believe occupational therapists brings a vital perspective to the mental health field. Our holistic and practical approach to recovery through meaningful occupation helps our consumers have better health outcomes, a more satisfying life and probably a lot more fun!”
Laura Ferronato, OT Clinical Educator 

“Occupational therapy means growth and healing through doing what matters to us each day.”
Megan Turville, OT Research Lead

“OT means promoting health and wellbeing though participating in meaningful activities that we need and want to do. Occupational therapists are curious and keen to understand consumers’ lives and their typical days as “how we spend our days is how we spend our lives” (Annie Dillard, The Writing life)”
Carolyn Dun, Northern Area Mental Health Service (NAMHS)

“I believe that OT is more than a profession, it is a way of living, interacting and seeing the world. What excites me as an occupational therapist, is that we are in the business of creating opportunities for engagement, satisfaction, fulfillment and enabling people of all ages and abilities to live the life that they want to live. We are not magicians – rather we use skills, knowledge, experience, and evidence to make a sustainable change in the person’s life”.
Kieva Richards, Occupational Therapy Professional Leader-Specialist Older Adults Consultation Service/Aged Mental Health

“Mental ill health can impact all domains of a person’s life, as mental health occupational therapists, we have the privileged position to play a role in understanding what is most important to a person.  Then, either by supporting, coaching, advocacy, connecting, walk alongside the person as they take the steps towards living the life they define as meaningful, worthwhile and fulfilling”.
Erin Finch, Occupational Therapy Professional Leader- North West Area Mental Health Service (NWAMHS)

For me, the value and reward of being an Occupational Therapist is summed up in the following quote:
“Occupational Therapists are change agents who work to enhance the health, wellbeing and quality of life for individuals and communities”
I love that our skills, knowledge and perspective mean that we are able to work and make a difference to peoples’ lives in a diverse range of roles and settings.
Sue Pike, Director – Service Development and Improvement.

 “As an OT, I am geared towards helping people identify and meet their own goals and thus like to think that I display an elevated level of empathy. It helps me to ask important questions, understand any barriers and discern a person’s strengths and also areas for improvement.

In addition, OTs are highly regarded and well known for their person-centred and strengths-based approach. We recognize the value of individual differences. These are important qualities in a leader as well. Leaders find a way to utilize each person’s strengths within a team, and alongside leading with empathy, OTs create environments that promote well-being, cooperation, and unity that enhance and focus on people’s growth and workplace success”
John Dermanakis, Director of Operations, Northern Area Mental Health Service (NAMHS)