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Deirdre Deegan and Eileen McKiver
In early 2015, an Occupational Therapy led Operation Transformation healthy eating and exercise programme produced results suggestive of the value and need to promote and…
In early 2015, an Occupational Therapy led Operation Transformation healthy eating and exercise programme produced results suggestive of the value and need to promote and integrate physical activity interventions into mental health services.
In all, 41 clients with various mental illness diagnoses participated in the eight-week Operation Transformation programme. The outcome measures involved weekly weigh-ins and an end of programme evaluation form.
The quantifiable benefits – a total weight loss of nine stone ten and a half pounds – were mirrored in equally impressive qualitative impacts. Participants’ feedback via anonymous evaluation forms, echoed the findings of the articles appraised in the literature, including improvements in mood and energy levels, better sleep and increased motivation.
The organisers will benefit from lessons learned in this first experience, including overcoming logistical and organisational difficulties experienced in enabling clients’ full participation.
The evidence base points to the successful benefits of physical activity in promoting positive mental health. Occupational Therapists have a unique opportunity to drive forward the message of promoting physical activity via meaningful occupations.
Deirdre Deegan, Emma Fingleton, Joseph James McEvoy and Kate Quigley
This practice piece aims to review an occupational therapy led pilot programme – social farming as an intervention option in an adult community mental health setting in…
This practice piece aims to review an occupational therapy led pilot programme – social farming as an intervention option in an adult community mental health setting in Ireland. It will also reflect on the practical implications of delivering the natural surroundings based programme through the COVID-19 pandemic and plans for the future development of such programmes in adult mental health services.
The Occupational Circumstances Assessment Interview Rating Scale (OCAIRS) was used to measure occupational participation (Forsyth, 2005). This was administered with participants’ pre and post their participation in the 10-week programme. An internal questionnaire was developed to further capture both the participant and farmer experiences of the social farming programme.
Whilst improvements were noted in a number of OCAIRS domains, it was difficult to identify small changes over a short period of time. The main domains of change were habits, roles, interests and personal causation. The success of the social farming placements was also reflected in the internal questionnaire. The pilot programme has resulted in the further development of the social farming programme and securing of funding for placements for five years.
It would be beneficial to consider other standardised assessments that assess quality of life and occupation for future placements. It is also beneficial to consider practical implications in delivering a social farming programme, particularly to those with barriers to transport. It is hoped this paper will contribute to the growing knowledge of social farming as a meaningful therapeutic intervention in mental health occupational therapy practice.