International Organization of Physical Therapists in Mental Health (IOPTMH)
Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
Bergen University College
The International Organization of Physical Therapy in Mental Health, IOPTMH, an international network of physical therapists working in the field of psychiatry and mental health, was admitted as a subgroup of WCPT at the 17th General Meeting of WCPT in Amsterdam, June 2011. Several nations in Europe have organised subsections of physical therapy in mental health for several decades.
Epidemiological studies show that depression, stress-related conditions, long lasting musculoskeletal disorders and anxiety affect millions of people worldwide often having negative consequences for their ability to work and quality of life (WHO 2010). Mental health disorders comprise a broad range of problems with different symptoms. People suffering from mental health problems often have bodily oriented symptoms, representing a major group of patients seeking help from physical therapists over the globe.
Development of an international subgroup
To meet a need in society, an international network of physical therapists working in the field of psychiatry and mental health has been established through the three international research conferences of physical therapists: at Leuven University, Belgium 2006, at Bergen University College, Norway 2008, and at Lund University, Sweden 2010. The fourth conference will be held in Edinburgh, UK, 2012. The network has an elected board, the International Council of Physiotherapy in Psychiatry and Mental Health (IC-PPMH), see www.icppmh.org, and about 300 members, representing 39 nations from 6 continents.
The network includes practitioners, educators and researchers in the field. As a board we have been working to apply for subgroup recognition in WCPT since 2006.
The objectives for IOPTMH are to:
- foster co-operation between physical therapists practicing in mental health throughout the world
- encourage improved standards and consistency of practice in mental health care by physical therapists
- advance practice by communication and exchange of information
- encourage scientific research and promote opportunities for the spread of knowledge of new developments in the field of mental health
- assist WCPT member organisations in the development of recognised sub-sections in mental health
IOPTMH believe that physical therapy will have an effect on worldwide health problems, including views, strategies for actions and research where body, mind and existence is treated as a unity and the physical therapist is working at the highest professional standards with human movement as its core.
On behalf of the Executive Committee, IOPTMH:
Professor Michel Probst, PT, PhD, President (Belgium)
Associate Professor Liv Helvik Skjærven, PT, MSc, Vice President (Norway)
Associate Professor Amanda Lundvik Gyllensten, PT, PhD, Member (Sweden)
Superintendant Anne Parker, PT, Treasurer (UK)
Nathalie Mulders, PT, Secretary (Netherlands)