S40: Exploring mental health consumer involvement in occupational therapy curricula across Australia and New Zealand.

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By September 11, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Justin Scanlan, Alexandra Logan, Karen Arblaster, Kirsti Haracz, Ben Milbourn, Ellie Fossey, Jayne Webster, Tawanda Machingura, Genevieve Pepin, Ellice Willcourt

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Exploring mental health consumer involvement in occupational therapy curricula across Australia and New Zealand.

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Justin Scanlan is co-chair of the Australian and New Zealand Occupational Therapy Mental Health Academics (ANZOTMHA) network. He is also senior lecturer and course director for undergraduate occupational therapy at The University of Sydney. Justin is passionate about enhancing the involvement of consumers in mental health education.

Meaningful consumer participation in the education of future mental health professionals is a key strategy to support the development of recovery oriented practice capabilities. While accreditation standards require consumer participation in the design, delivery and evaluation of curricula, little is known about how mental health consumers are engaged in occupational therapy education programs.

An online survey was designed to explore the specific ways in which consumers were engaged in the design, delivery and evaluation of mental health curricula in occupational therapy programs as well as barriers and facilitators to consumer involvement.

Responses were received from 23 programs across Australia and New Zealand (representing an 83% response rate).

Results suggest that most programs value the contribution of consumers and the value of lived experience educators. However, numerous barriers were identified, including access to adequate remuneration, organisational barriers and challenges associated with access to consumers and lived experience educators. While programs generally reported consumer participation at the lower ends of the participation ladder, there was an almost universal desire for this to be enhanced.

Several initiatives to deepen consumer involvement in occupational therapy education will be described as stimulus for achieving the goal of meaningful consumer participation in all occupational therapy programs.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Attendees will gain an understanding of how consumers are contributing to the education of occupational therapy students and strategies that can be implemented to enhance the level of consumer involvement in education programs, both within occupational therapy and other health professional programs.
Learning Objective 2: To achieve the aim of recovery oriented service provision, students need to learn from individuals with lived experience. This presentation will describe how this is currently happening and how this can be enhanced.

Arblaster, K., Mackenzie, L., & Willis, K. (2015). Mental health consumer participation in education: a structured literature review. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 62(5), 341-362.
Arblaster, K., Mackenzie, L., Matthews, L., Willis, K., Gill, K., Hanlon, P., & Laidler, R. (2018). Learning from consumers: An eDelphi study of Australian mental health consumers’ priorities for recovery‐oriented curricula. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 65(6), 586-597.

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