Occupational Therapy Students Write Mental Health Article for AOTA Publication
Touro Nevada occupational therapy students Marisol Mateo Busacay and Mackenzie Kent are using their own student experiences to help shine a light on the importance of mental health.
Busacay and Kent recently wrote an article, titled ‘Mental health as an occupational therapy student’ which was published in the American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) official publication.
Their article focused on five sections: Evaluate Your Priorities, Take Breaks – More Than One!, Learn to Say No, Reach Out to Your Professors, and Be Gentle with Yourself.
“Mental health is something we tend to ignore because we have so many priorities and we put ourselves last,” Busacay said. “I thought it would be a great idea to share some ideas that would be helpful to other people.”
Busacay reached out to AOTA and inquired about writing an article on mental health. Five years ago, she lost a friend to suicide, a loss that has been with her ever since.
“Especially because of the pandemic, it seems like everyone is struggling with their mental health,” she said. “In my culture, coming from a traditional Filipino family, mental health is still a taboo topic. In my culture, only physical ailments exist.”
She approached Kent and asked if she would be interested in co-authoring the paper with her. Kent, who worked with homeless LGBTQIA youth as an undergraduate student at the University of Nevada, Reno, was delighted to write the article together.
“Only two percent of occupational therapists actually work in mental health,” Kent said. “It doesn’t pay as much as many of the other specialties, but it’s so important.”
Busacay is also hosting support-focused lectures with the Nevada Occupational Therapy Association on self-compassion, anxiety as a student, and depression.
Kent, a first-year occupational therapy student, wants her capstone project to be focused on mental health, specifically in foster care and sexual assault with minors.
They both hope their recently published article serves as a valuable resource for OT students struggling to manage their rigorous curriculum, the COVID-19 pandemic, and everything else life throws at them.
“People are starting to talk more about their mental health,” Busacay said. “We just want to let everyone know how important it is to take care of yourself.”Learn More About Touro's Occupational Therapy Program