Mental Health is Important. What You Can Do as a Physiotherapist

I understand that mental health is an important topic, but what can I do as a physiotherapist?

As health care professionals we are dedicated to improving a person’s well-being. As physiotherapists, we are comfortable within the realm of physical signs and symptoms, while sometimes neglecting the intimate connection between the physical and mental bodily spheres. It is undeniable that the two are mutually influenced, but how proficient are we as clinicians in recognizing and addressing this importance within a clinical setting?

Do you know what outcome measures are available to you for quantifying suspected mental health disturbances? Are you confident with who you should be referring your patients to, for the appropriate type of care? How equipped do you feel as a physiotherapist, with addressing a suspected underlying mental health imbalance with your patient? If you felt uncertain with any of your answers to these questions, you are certainly not alone.

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, which is the perfect opportunity for you to become more familiar with your role as a physiotherapist within a multi-disciplinary team, addressing this complex and often stigmatized subject.

Physiopedia and its content crew have been working diligently within the past month to promote mental health awareness and offer practical resources to physiotherapists.

Physiopedia has helpful pages on specific mental health disorders such as alcoholism, attention deficit disorders, bipolar disorder, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (to name a few).  There are also several pages outlining the challenges and considerations when addressing a specific population such as the elite athlete, an individual affected by  a generalized anxiety disorder, amputees, or a homeless population, for example.

Physiopedia is dedicated to helping physiotherapists feeling more confident and competent with their roles as health care providers when confronted with mental health factors. As such, Physiopedia offers supportive resources for identifying red flags, how to self-identify clinical burnout symptoms, and offer guidelines for clinically friendly mental health outcome measures. There are also online courses offered to members addressing Clinical Reflective Frameworks and mindfulness.

Lastly, there are numerous clinically applicable pages highlighting the benefits of exercise and physical activity with respect to promoting a strong mental and physical life balance. Notwithstanding that we all recognize the importance of movement for health, I encourage you all to take a look at the following pages as a reminder of the specific benefits for sound mental health:

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Physiopedia team for their efforts in bringing mental health to the forefront of our practice this month. This is an impressive collection of resources that will only continue to grow over time. If you would like to contribute to this specialized topic, consider becoming a Physiopedia volunteer. If there are important topics or issues you would like to see on Physiopedia, feel free to let me know and contact me.

~Calm mind, calm body~