Disruption of academic occupations during COVID-19: impact on mental health and the role of occupational therapy in tertiary education
World Federation of Occupational Therapists Bulletin
Education is a social determinant of health and higher education can promote inclusion in society. Inclusion in higher education during social distancing can limit engagement in academic occupations. Lack of engagement can lead to mental health concerns. Populations that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic may also see a disproportionate rise in mental health issues. Occupational therapists can advocate for a role with students using Wilcock’s concepts of doing, being, belonging, and becoming. They can address not only individual-level factors among students, but population-level factors that can promote both mental health and occupational justice in the educational spaces of students, both online and face to face. This case study provides a review of the role that occupational therapy can play on and off campuses amid the pandemic to address the mental health needs of students in higher education.
© World Federation of Occupational Therapists 2020