William Rush Dunton Jr.: The Father Of Occupational Therapy

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“Once mainstays in psychiatric institutions, many OTs left the mental health arena when psych treatment moved en masse in the 1980s…” (Glomstad). The exit of occupational therapists from the mental health branch is mind-boggling. Today, occupational therapists are nearly nonexistent when it comes to mental institutions, “…the number of OTs and OTAs practicing in the mental health arena is now a meager 2 percent nationally” (Lagrossa). Society doesn’t realize what occupational therapists bring to the table. Occupational therapists help guide patients, with disabilities and or disorders, through their daily life so they could live independently and peacefully. Occupational therapists must possess a bigger and more impactful role in the mental …show more content…
This is simply not true. In fact, occupational therapy has roots in mental health. William Rush Dunton Jr. is considered to be the “Father of Occupational Therapy”. Even though Dunton Jr. is considered to be the father of occupational therapy, he worked as a psychiatrist at Sheppard and Enoch Pratt asylum in Baltimore. This goes to show that in today’s society, occupational therapists should be recognized as mental health care providers because of their history and training in the field. Occupational therapists help mental patients go through the process of recovery and living their lives to the fullest—this was established when Dunton won an award for the importance of occupational therapy. “In 1958, Dunton was honored by the American Occupational Therapy Association with their merit award for his contributions to understanding the benefits of occupational therapy for mentally ill patients” (John Hopkins Medical Institution). Occupational therapists assess schizophrenics, for example, those with a brain disorder where interpretation of reality is abnormal, to determine what community or environment is optimal for that patient. For instance, occupational therapists may utilize the information on how a schizophrenic lives alone in order to implement modifications to his or her environment, thus allowing the patient to live life safely and independently. The …show more content…
Psychiatrists prescribe drugs to mentally ill patients, nothing more and nothing less, “Psychiatrists are physicians who specialize in the treatment of psychological disorders…they can prescribe medications” (Myers, Pg. 567). On the other hand, according to occupational therapist Kyle Gallagher, occupational therapists develop a relationship with each individual and do not merely “treat” them, “You really get to know the whole person and look at all the external factors that make them a person” (Bulletin). One can argue that the steady decrease of occupational therapists in the mental health arena is justifiable because of the rising costs of medication, but what happens after the medication or treatment is given? Many people don’t know psychiatric drugs can open a new door of problems for patients, leading to more serious and chronic financial issues. According to Dr. Steve Balt, “…we do have medications like naltrexone and Suboxone, but these don’t treat the addiction when given alone” (Balt). The drugs meant to cure the patient could become a source of addiction and substance abuse. What’s worse is many psychiatrists treat addictions like background noise. Dr. Balt shares his experience in how mentally ill patients hooked on psychiatric drugs are treated, “In my part-time work in a county mental health department…patients with chemical dependency problems are referred out of the

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