Spotlight: Occupational Therapy Men's Mental Health 

Workbridge work with a number of different health and social care professionals across Northamptonshire to help people with complex mental illness, learning disabilities, ASD or brain injuries realise their potential.

Meet Craig Newman, Senior Occupational Therapist on Prichard Ward, St Andrew's Healthcare. Prichard is a bespoke 15 bed ward that usually admits patients from CAMHS Pathway once they turn 18 years old or patients from prisons and other medium secure and high secure hospitals. 

"My name is Craig Newman. I’m a qualified occupational therapist and have worked at St Andrew’s Healthcare for 19 years. I am the Senior Occupational Therapist on Prichard Ward, working with men with complex mental health needs. Many of the patients have experienced stigma, discrimination and trauma during there life so it is about how we can engage patients in meaningful occupation to enable them to reach their full potential".


Helping patients realise their hopes and aspirations:

"Occupational therapy provides a key role within a person’s mental health recovery journey. Engagement in occupations allows people to develop personal and social identities, realise their hopes and aspirations and explore, interact and cope with the environment in an adaptive way.

Occupational therapy is designed to support and promote continued participation in daily life – promoting functional skills like communication, cognitive and motor skills. It also helps to improve self-esteem, establish healthy routines, roles and responsibilities to increase independence and improved quality of life.

We use a number of OT treatment pathways to assist in setting patients tasks appropriate to their level of functioning. Vocations are highly valued amongst out patients at Pritchard Ward and provide a structure in which we can grade, assess and engage patients to build a variety of life skills. To encourage participation on our ward, we offer 1:1 and group sessions (pre-vocational) as well as ward based work roles (developing skills working as a team), decorating groups, bike maintenance, gardening and voluntary roles.

My patients can then progress to the many fantastic opportunities that Workbridge offer, including horticulture, woodwork, café, retail, contracting and more. Workbridge plays a key role in helping patients achieve personalised goals, developing interpersonal and work based skills, enhancing occupational functioning whilst promoting social inclusion in a safe environment.


Occupational Therapy during Covid:

During Covid, restrictions on activities have had a significant impact on patient engagement in occupational therapy, with less people able to access Workbridge placements.

I am currently developing a new cycling scheme on the ward in which patients have the opportunity to attend a bike maintenance and cycling group with the objectives of improving physical health, promoting social inclusion, and development of functional skills. I have collaborated with Workbridge who will be lending their expertise in training staff to develop this initiative.

It is very important that Workbridge and Occupational Therapy continue to collaborate into the future, as patient engagement in occupations are our areas of expertise."