Patients' experience of groups in outpatient mental health services and its significance for daily occupations

The prevalence of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety in the Swedish population is increasing and individuals' daily occupations are seriously affected. Occupational therapy groups have long been used in mental health services. Now, with the increase in the number of outpatients and the current principle of patients' participation there is a need for further knowledge of this group of patients' perspective on the method. The aim of this study was thus to explore how outpatients in mental health services experience treatment in occupational therapy groups and what significance the treatment has for daily occupations. The focus group method was used. Four groups, with a total of 14 participants, were formed and met on one occasion. A number of factors for positive change in occupational therapy groups were found, i.e. “timing”, “belonging”, “involvement”, “challenge”, “meaningful occupation”, and “balanced focus on disease”. The participants' active use of the treatment and the transfer of experiences and knowledge from treatment to daily life were important for success. The abilities “to manage” and “to dare” developed in occupational therapy groups helped participants in the process of making changes in daily occupations. The findings show how a traditional method in occupational therapy in mental health services can be used to meet current needs and principles.


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