Balancing Bodies and Minds: How Physiotherapists Can Tackle Mental Health Challenges

Balancing Bodies and Minds: How Physiotherapists Can Tackle Mental Health Challenges

As a Physiotherapist you will frequently encounter individuals grappling with mental health issues, irrespective of your work environment. This interaction is highly likely to impact your level of engagement and response to treatment.

According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy there are several ways you can prepare for these interactions, enabling you to provide the best possible care.

Things to do In advance of the appointment:

  • Relevant Medical History: This can be particularly important, as patients with mental health conditions may struggle to recall their medical background accurately.
  • Information About Their Specific Condition or Diagnosis: Including details about any prescribed medications.  
  • Recognize Individual Experiences: Understand that each person's experience with mental illness is unique. It's perfectly acceptable to inquire, "How does this condition affect your daily life?" as symptoms can vary greatly even within the same diagnosis.  
  • Mental Health Act Section Status: Determine whether the person is currently under any section of the Mental Health Act and be aware of any implications this may have.  
  • Personal Preferences and Dislikes: Consider any specific likes or dislikes, especially if they could impact the appointment. Identify any fears or concerns.  
  • Cognitive Abilities and Capacity: Assess the person's cognitive capabilities and their ability to provide informed consent.  
  • Impact on Daily Life and Function: Understand the influence of their mental health on their daily life and functioning.  
  • Being prepared with this information can facilitate more effective and empathetic interactions when providing care to individuals with mental health conditions.  

Appointment Preparation:

  • Consider the appointment location to ensure the client's comfort and relaxation.  
  • Be mindful that a clinic setting can be bustling with distractions, potentially unsettling the patient or making them anxious.  
  • Allocate more extended appointment times, allowing ample time for lengthier assessments. Be open to scheduling multiple appointments if necessary.  
  • Encourage patients to bring their care and treatment plan, or any relevant educational or health documents they may have.
  • Inquire if your patient requires assistance from a caregiver or family member during the appointment.  
  • Consider sending reminders via telephone or text the day before the scheduled appointment.  
  • Keep comprehensive records of all the details discussed and agreed upon.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your patients receive the care they deserve, addressing not only their physical but also their mental well-being. Remember as physiotherapists, you have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of everyone you care for.