Mental Health in Occupational Therapy Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information

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Allied Health – Rm. 126

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Thursday: 11:30am -12:30 pm (additional times by appointment)

Course Information

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OTHA-2309-001 Mental Health in Occupational Therapy


Prerequisite: OTHA 1415

Course Description

Promotion of mental health and wellness through occupational therapy. Topics include theory and intervention strategies to enhance occupational performance.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(3 sem hrs; 2 lec, 2 lab)

Class Type

On Campus Course

Syllabus Information


Mental Health Practice for the Occupational Therapy Assistant, Manville, Keough 

Group Dynamics in Occupational Therapy, 5th Edition, Cole

Developing Clinical Competence, A Workbook for the OTA, 2nd Edition, Morreale, Marie J. 


Text books

Access to computer for testing and class use

Presentation, Project, and group materials

Student Performance

 A grade of "D" is not possible in this course.  A student receiving a final grade of less than a "C" will be required to repeat this course and may not continue the next curriculum courses.   This course may only be repeated once and must be done in curriculum sequence.

A = 92.5 - 100

B = 83.5 - 92.4

C = 74.5 - 83.4

F = 74.4 and below


Course Objectives:

  1. Discuss the OT Practice Framework as it relates to occupational therapy in the mental health setting. 
  2. Be knowledgeable of healthcare laws, historically and current, and how the impact on mental health care and occupational therapy services.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of mental health diagnoses, including signs and symptoms and the impact on occupational performance.
  4. Be familiar with job descriptions and role delineation of OTR, COTA, aides, and volunteers in in the mental health setting.  
  5. Discuss and apply frames of reference in occupational therapy to practice in the mental health setting.
  6. Explore assessments in the mental health setting, as well as the psychosocial components of assessment applicable to occupational therapy intervention in all settings.
  7. Participate in learning activities to develop group intervention skills and therapeutic use of self for occupational therapy intervention in the mental health setting.
  8. Understand the importance of effective communication skills with clients, caregivers, and other professionals.
  9. Demonstrate effective communication skills during practice of implementation of the therapeutic group process.
  10. Demonstrate knowledge of leadership styles used in facilitating an occupational therapy group intervention.
  11. Understand the importance of supervision, the reciprocity of the relationship with the OTA supervisor, and the impact on the client’s progress in the mental health setting. 
  12. Understand the importance of and utilize evidence-based practice in the mental health setting. 


ACOTE standards related to this course: (effective July 31,2020)

Explain the role of sociocultural, socioeconomic, diversity factors, and lifestyle choices in contemporary society to meet the needs of persons, groups, and populations (e.g., principles of psychology, sociology, and abnormal psychology). 

Demonstrate knowledge of the social determinants of health for persons, groups, and populations with or at risk for disabilities and chronic health conditions. This must include an understanding of the epidemiological factors that impact the public health and welfare of populations.   (B.1.3.)

Apply scientific evidence, theories, models of practice, and frames of reference that underlie the practice of occupational therapy to guide and inform interventions for persons, groups, and populations in a variety of practice contexts and environments.  (B.2.1.)

Apply knowledge of occupational therapy history, philosophical base, theory, and sociopolitical climate and their importance in meeting society’s current and future occupational needs as well as how these factors influence and are influenced by practice.   (B.3.1.) 

Explain to consumers, potential employers, colleagues, third-party payers, regulatory boards, policymakers, and the general public the distinct nature of occupation and the evidence that occupation supports performance, participation, health, and well-being.   (B.3.3.)

Demonstrate knowledge of the effects of disease processes including heritable diseases, genetic conditions, mental illness, disability, trauma, and injury on occupational performance.  (B.3.5)

Demonstrate therapeutic use of self, including one’s personality, insights, perceptions, and judgments, as part of the therapeutic process in both individual and group interaction.  (B.4.1.)

Demonstrate an understanding of the intervention strategies that remediate and/or compensate for functional cognitive deficits, visual deficits, and psychosocial and behavioral health deficits that affect occupational performance.  (B.4.9.)

Provide direct interventions and procedures to persons, groups, and populations to enhance safety, health and wellness, and performance in occupations. This must include the ability to select and deliver occupations and activities, preparatory methods and tasks (including therapeutic exercise), education and training, and advocacy. (B.4.10.)

Identify and explain the contextual factors; current policy issues; and socioeconomic, political, geographic, and demographic factors on the delivery of occupational therapy services for persons, groups, and populations and social systems as theyrelate to the practice of occupational therapy.   (B.5.1.)

Define the systems and structures that create federal and state legislation and regulations, and their implications and effects on persons, groups, and populations, as well as practice.  (B.5.4.)

Identify and communicate to the occupational therapist the need to design community and primary care programs to support occupational performance for persons, groups, and populations.  (B.4.27.)

Demonstrate awareness of the principles of interprofessional team dynamics to perform effectively in different team roles to plan, deliver, and evaluate patient- and population-centered care as well as population health programs and policies that are safe, timely, efficient, effective, and equitable.  (B.4.25.) 

Locate and demonstrate understanding of professional literature, including the quality of the source of information, to make evidence-based practice decisions in collaboration with the occupational therapist. Explain how scholarly activities and literature contribute to the development of the profession.   (B.6.1.)

Demonstrate the skills to understand a scholarly report. (B.6.3.)

Consistency with and connection to curriculum:

The curriculum design of the OTA program incorporates both developmental and adult education models of learning. In planning and implementing the curriculum, courses progress from easier to harder, general to specific, limited time observing to full time practicing. The program focuses on adult education concepts of self-directed learning, an increasing responsibility for one’s own learning, as well as establishing one’s own learning goals and objectives. The curriculum design incorporates the philosophy of the profession in that humans are active beings and so students enrolled in OTA courses are actively learning not passively listening to lecture or viewing power point presentations. OTA students create the power point presentations from which they learn.

In the previous semester, students participated with concrete learning in human structure and function.  Learning in this class moves to abstract concepts, including client factors and performance skills of a psychosocial and cognitive nature.

Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior

1.   Dishonesty will not be tolerated.  Refer to the “Student’s Rights and Responsibilities” pamphlet for details on handling of dishonesty.

2.   There will be no personal use of cell phones or pagers in the classroom during class time.  All devices must be put on silent during class and lab hours.

3.  Class facilities (phone, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen) are to be used only for learning experiences.

4.  Courtesy and respect are expected between the student and instructor.  Students are expected to be attentive to the instructor, guest lecturers, and oral presentations of peers.

5.  Students will abide by department dress code.  If professional dress is not followed, student will not be allowed on the outing and will receive a zero for that class.  Makeup of that outing will not be allowed.

6.  Students are expected to demonstrate high regard and respect for all persons during off-campus visits.  Lack of respect for anyone by any student will result in immediate dismissal of the student/s from the situation and a grade of zero for that day.


Grading Criteria

The course will consist of 3-5 content examinations, several quizzes, in-class assignments, out-of-class assignments, presentations and a comprehensive final examination.  One final examination will be given and will cover any/all material presented throughout the course.

The final course grade will be computed as follows:

   Content Examinations                                                                                        30%

   Portfolio                                                                                                                  10%

   Lab Assignments and Practicals                                                                        30% 

   Final Examination                                                                                                30%          


A.  Content Exam – Each exam will cover the information presented since the previous exam (or the start of the semester for the first exam) and will be announced in advance.  If an exam is missed, for any reason, that exam will be made up during the week of final examinations.  Detailed information for the       make-up exam will be at the discretion of the instructor and may differ from original exam format.  It is the responsibility of the student to obtain test information-no review will be given.  The maximum achievable score will be 95. If bonus questions are present, an exam score of 100% is the highest score possible

B.  Quizzes - Quizzes will test knowledge of any/all previous lectures/readings.  They may or may not be announced and may be given at anytime during the  course of the class.  A quiz cannot be made up for any reason.

C.  All Assignments/Presentations – All in-class, out-of-class, or presentations must be completed on time.  They will not be accepted late for any reason. 

D.  Lab Activities – All effort will be made to keep assignments to a level that can be completed during lab times.  Assignments given for each lab will be turned in at the end of lab, unless the instructor gives approval to complete it outside of  lab.  In the event of lab homework, it will be due at the beginning of the next lab.     There will be no make-up of lab assignments.

E.  Lab Practical – Practicals are  used to evaluate a student's understanding of   material and ability to carry out various treatment techniques/modalities. Practicals may be given at any time during the course of the class but will be announced in advance.  Practicals cannot be made up for any reason.


Amarillo College endorses attendance as a key to success.  Attendance is required for successful completion of the Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. 

At the beginning of each lecture and lab, students will be expected to sign the roster provided by the instructor.  Failure to sign in will result in the student being marked absent for attendance purposes even if a student is present in class and seen by the instructor. 

Each student will be allowed only one absence for the course.  After the first absence, a penalty of three (3) points will be deducted from the student's final course grade for each subsequent absence.  For example, a student who misses three (3) lectures will have six (6) points deducted from the final grade for the course.

Full attendance of class time is also expected.  A student will be counted as "absent" if the student is out of class more than 20 minutes of a class time.  For example, if in a given day a student arrives 5 minutes late to class, takes an extra 5 minutes for break and leaves class for 10 minutes for any reason (phone calls, appointments, bathroom breaks, illness), that student is then considered "absent" for the day.  This type of absence counts in the total number of absences resulting in lowering of the final course grade.


Week 1:  Introduction, History, Scope, and Standards of Practice for OT in Mental Health (MH Ch. 1, 2)

Week 2:  OT Intervention: Promoting Occupational Participation (MH Ch. 5;) Understanding Group Dynamics (GD Ch. 2)

Week 3:  Therapeutic Rapport (MH Ch.12;) Developing Cultural Competence (GD Ch. 13)

Week 4:  The Early Lifespan (Development, Mental Health Diagnoses, Assessment, Intervention) (MH Ch. 3 and 4)

Week 5:  Mid-Lifespan (Development, Mental Health Diagnoses, Assessment, Intervention) (MH Ch. 6 and 7)

Week 6:  Late Lifespan (Development, Mental Health Diagnoses, Assessment, Intervention) (MH. Ch. 9)

Week 7:  Mental Health Observation Skills of Various Diagnoses, Assessment, Intervention

Week 8:  Intervention Strategies: Combining Performance and Skill (MH Ch. 8)


Week 9:  Groups and the OT Framework (GD Ch. 4;) Understanding Group Dynamics (GD ch. 3;)

Week 10:  Use of Therapeutic Groups in Mental Health OT ; The Group Leader  (MH Ch. 13, 14)

Week 11:  Client-Centered Groups (GD ch. 3;) Writing a Group Protocol (GD ch.11)

Week 12:  Group Practicals/Feedback

Week 13:  Group Practicals/Feedback

Week 14: Group Practicals/Feedback Assessment

Week 15:  Off Campus Clinical with Debriefing

Week 16:  Final Exams

Additional Information

Report grievance in the following order:

Instructor, Program Director, Associate Dean of Health Sciences  Kim Boyd 354-6060, Dean of Health Sciences Kim Crowley 354-6087, Associate VP of Academic Services Becky Burton 371-5122, and VP of Academic Affairs Dr. Tamara Clunis 371-5226.


Instructor reserves the right to alter the syllabus, as needed, to facilitate student mastery of the material.

Syllabus Created on:

01/14/22 3:27 PM

Last Edited on:

01/14/22 3:41 PM