A critical review of the approved mental health professional role and occupational therapy

Gill Knott, Katrina Bannigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


A major amendment to the Mental Health Act 2007 was to broaden the professional groups eligible to undertake specific roles under the Act. One such role was the approved mental health professional (AMHP), whose responsibility is to conduct assessments of people deemed mentally disordered to determine whether they meet the criteria for detention, known as ‘sectioning’. Traditionally, this role was undertaken by social workers. Although occupational therapists are now eligible to undertake the role, uptake has been low.

A critical literature review was conducted to explore the AMHP role and occupational therapy in order to develop an understanding of the fit between the two. A wide-ranging search identified 282 articles, 30 of which were relevant to the review question.

Coding identified four overarching interrelated themes: values, social (work) perspective, independence of the AMHP role and impact on therapeutic relationship. Coherence exists between social work values and occupational therapy values so it is more likely that structural issues, rather than incongruent values, are impeding occupational therapists' uptake of the AMHP role.

A register of occupational therapists employed as AMHPs, and further research exploring reasons for low uptake, is recommended.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-126
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Journal of Occupational Therapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013


  • mental health act
  • therapeutic relationship
  • psychosocial
  • social work
  • values
  • social perspective


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