Occupational Therapy Student Blog Post
December 15, 2020
Alyssa Gennaro, Towson University
Rachel Hollembaek, Towson University
Being occupational therapy students at Afya has heightened our awareness of how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives. We have learned the importance of how engaging individuals in meaningful activities can result in a feeling of purpose. Individuals define their values or something that brings meaning to their lives differently; regardless, the need for purpose is essential.
Covid-19 has affected individuals’ day to day life routines and occupations in one way or another. During the height of the pandemic the world was told to stay home and people were unable to participate in many of their meaningful activities outside the home. As the pandemic wears on, many individuals are experiencing situations linked to poor mental health outcomes, such as social isolation and job loss (Panchal et al., 2020).
While the challenges that the pandemic brings is a unique situation for most Americans, these issues are something that marginalized populations such as individuals with disabilities, mental illness, or low socioeconomic status, have dealt with for years.
Afya gives marginalized populations who typically don’t have the opportunities to engage in such meaningful work, a chance to have a purpose. Afya allows these individuals to have a chance to improve their own work readiness skills while helping communities all over the world. Each volunteer at Afya has the opportunity to try different tasks that fit within their skill range to ensure success.
Occupational therapists view meaningful activities as both a means and end to the therapeutic process, as the work required to reach a goal is usually more important than the end result (Brown, 2011). Therefore, allowing individuals to engage in opportunities that allow them to feel as though the work they are doing is for a bigger cause will not only grow their personal skills, but will allow them the chance to feel a “purpose” (Brown, 2011).
Meaningful occupations and routines make up one’s purpose in life. Ultimately, the Covid-19 outbreak has shown everyone the need for a purpose and importance of the engagement in occupations. Afya gives everyone a chance to have a purpose.
Brown, C. (2011). Motivation. In C. Brown & V. C. Stoffel (Eds.), Occupational therapy in mental health: A vision for participation (pp. 330-344). F.A. Davis Company.
Panchal, N., Kamal, K., Orgera, K., Cox, C., Garfield, R., Hamel, L., Muñana, C., & Priya Chidambaram. (2020). The implications of COVID-19 for mental health and substance abuse. Coronavirus. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/