POTAC and Anti-Racism

The Psychiatric Occupational Therapy Action Coalition (POTAC) recognizes that oppression and systemic racism exist, and that change begins with each of us. Through its Steering Committee, membership, continuing education events, advocacy, and information, the organization encourages all involved to be aware of this. Anti-racism, anti-oppression starts with an awareness of thoughts, language, and actions. Such awareness should lead to the necessary, but difficult discussions in order to positively change the mental health community and the profession of occupational therapy. The Steering Committee encourages its members and affiliates to be actively involved by working to end racism and to provide social and occupational justice for all marginalized groups.

Scholarship Recipients

We are thrilled to announce the recipients of the 2020 Kim Aspelund Scholarship: Sarah Hagen and Victoria Lopez!

The Kim Aspelund Scholarship aims to foster mental health practice and provide support to occupational therapy (OT) students wishing to pursue a career in mental health practice. The scholarship is eligible for students from California schools of occupational therapy who will be participating in Level II fieldwork in a mental health setting serving clients with psychiatric disabilities.

To read the write-ups that Sarah and Victoria submitted to the POTAC scholarship, please click the links below.

POTAC Advocacy

POTAC’s Advocacy Committee is committed to researching and endorsing legislation in support of the well being and safety of individuals experiencing mental health diagnoses and crises, in addition to legislation that offers the role of OTs to be more involved in the mental health realm of care. Read below to learn more about our current advocacy efforts.

The Mental Health Justice Act of 2021

POTAC is in support of the Mental Health Justice Act introduced by CA Representative Katie Porter. The bill works to stop violence against individuals with mental illness and disabilities. It aims to do this by authorizing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to States and political subdivisions of States to hire, employ, train, and dispatch mental health professionals to respond in lieu of law enforcement officers in emergencies involving one or more persons with a mental illness or an intellectual or developmental disability, and for other purposes.

A one-page explanation of the Mental Health Justice Act can be found here.

Read POTAC’s letter of support for the Mental Health Justice Act here.

As we continue our efforts in collaborating with Representative Porter’s office to advocate for this bill, we will share and provide updates regarding its progress and how to support the bill. At this time, if you’d like to sign on to the letter that we have sent, please comment your name at the bottom of the letter. Thank you!