By McKay, Elizabeth Anne

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They suggested that information gained before interviewing and assessing clients, although valuable, must be verified and supplemented by the clients, as they provide the best reference point for their cultural beliefs, needs and preferences (Lim, 2001; Tribe, 2002). indd 31 11/7/2007 4:42:31 PM 32 „ Introducing the mental health context an appreciation of the socio-cultural context and cultural influences that shape individuals’ identity, perspective and lived experience (Keating, 2006). Acknowledging, affirming and valuing clients’ perspectives are important in validating their personal experiences (Hocking & Whiteford, 1995; Howarth & Jones, 1999; McGruder, 2003).

Great Britain: Parliament (1983) Mental Health Act 1983. London: HMSO. Harries PA, Gilhooly K (2003) Generic and specialist occupational therapy casework in community mental health teams. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(3), 101–109. Kings Fund (2006) Grow Your Own: Creating the Conditions for Sustainable Workforce Development. London: Kings Fund. Mc Culloch A, Glover G, St John T (2003) The National Service Framework for Mental Health: past, present and future. Mental Health Review, 8(4), 7–17.

Being an occupational therapist in mental health has never disappointed me. Despite the frustrations of different work settings and practices and constant changes there is something quite comforting about knowing my profession has a significant role to play in enhancing the lives of people who experience mental health difficulties. In preparing this chapter, I reflected on where I am today, my motivations and, in particular, my interest in policy and its influence over practice and the development of the profession.

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