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Current Status of Mental Health Service and the Role of Psychiatric Occupational Therapists in Korea

  • Korean Journal of Occupational Therapy
  • Abbr : Korean J of Occup Ther
  • 2011, 19(1), pp.15-27
  • Publisher : Korean Society Of Occupational Therapy
  • Research Area : Medicine and Pharmacy > Working Therapeutics

강대혁 1 김선옥 2

1한서대학교
2순천제일대학

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study was conducted to find a way to improve mental health service system in Korea by investigating the current status of mental health service system and compare it with that of other countries. The Mental Health Act was legislated in 1995 to prevent the onset of mental disorders and mandate the psychiatric service and rehabilitation for people with mental disorders. It has been revised four times since then. The most recent Mental Health Act revised in 2008 added(article46-2) occupational therapy service to promote human rights and warrant the legitimacy of occupational therapy in mental health service. The National Human Rights Commission of Korea administered on site inspection of seven mental health institutions (3public and 4 private) between October and December 2008 and reported the followings: absence or shortage of occupational therapy services, insufficient evaluation process, lack of treatment plans and daily log of occupational therapy, and human rights violation under the name of occupational therapy (i.e., cleaning nursing stations, toilets and taking care of severely disabled persons). These resulted from inappropriate use of the term“ occupational therapy”in Korean in the Mental Health Act contradicting between parent law and subordinate law allowing occupational therapy service be provided by unqualified personnel. Therefore, the current Mental Health Act has to be revised to include the definition of occupational therapy and job description of occupational therapist to protect the human rights of the clients and assure high quality services. Once the institutional framework is established, the professional role of occupational therapists can be expected in mental health service

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