World Physical Therapy Day ‘18: Physical Therapy and Mental Health $0.00

World Physical Therapy Day ‘18: Physical Therapy and Mental Health

By: Emily Nichols |
Movement for Health World Physical Therapy Day

No matter whether you go by the title of physical therapist or physiotherapist and no matter what country you are in, PTs all throughout the world continue to help people every day. You play an important role in the daily life of patients and athletes. Without you, people would continue to suffer with limited options of improving their injuries, their daily living, and their overall health.

An overall goal for any physical therapist is to help patients reduce their pain and restore their mobility. While working in a variety of settings, you can potentially help patients avoid surgery and reduce the use of long-term medications.

Depending on your country, you may belong to one of the hundreds of member organizations for physical therapists. The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) is the only international representation for physical therapists in the world. By representing more than 450,000 PTs throughout the world, it has members from over 100 other different member organizations.

With all of the physical therapists in the world, a day was needed to represent the PTs and celebrate the amazing work that continues to be done. The WCPT began World Physical Therapy Day back in 1996. Every year on September 8th, “…physical therapists from all over the world raise awareness about the crucial contribution the profession makes to keeping people well, mobile and independent.” [1]

That day is today, so for all of our physical therapists out there...HAPPY WORLD PHYSICAL THERAPY DAY!

Let’s go a little more in depth looking at the organization that started it all, the background of World PT Day, and the theme for this year.

World Confederation for Physical Therapy

Not only is September 8th the day that World Physical Therapy Day was designated, but it is also the date that the World Confederation for Physical Therapy was founded 45 years earlier.

According to the WCPT’s website, the “vision is to move physical therapy forward so the profession is recognized globally for its significant role in improving health and wellbeing.” [2]

The World Confederation for Physical Therapy was founded in 1951 by 11 different member organizations which were made up of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, West Germany, Sweden, and the United States of America. In 1953, the first executive committee was elected.

Within the first ten years, the WCPT increased by five organizations bringing the membership to 16. At this time, the WCPT was depending on donations from its member organizations and the occasional grant. By the end of their first decade in 1961, there was a yearly subscription per person, an office in London, and a Secretary General.

“Over its history, WCPT has developed statements, including education curricula, to support the development of the profession. At the 1995 general meeting, a range of declarations of principle and position statements were adopted for the first time, providing member organizations with foundation policy guidance about practice, education and research. New policy documents have been adopted at every general meeting since then, including a description of physical therapy, standards of practice and guidelines for entry level professional physical therapy education. [3]

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2001, a meeting was held on evidence-based practices by the member organizations. The future of both WCPT and the profession were main topics.

The internet, including the WCPT website and social media is the number one way they feel they can communicate with members. It allows physical therapists all throughout the world to be able to share information with each other no matter their location.

The WCPT now has 109 different member organizations, and 12 affiliated specialist subgroups. [3]

The WCPT offers benefits for all of the members, including some that are exclusive to their organization. Let’s take a look at what benefits are highlighted on their website [4]:

  • Policy – WCPT General Meeting, Support for Your Organization, WCPT Projects, Documents and Letters of Support
  • Events – World Physical Therapy Day & Congress
  • Communications – WCPT News & WCPT e-update
  • Resources
  • International
  • The WCPT Awards

For more information, navigate their website and see how becoming a member of the WCPT can benefit you.

World Physical Therapy Day

World Physical Therapy Day increases in popularity and has more influence throughout the world and community with each year that passes. To celebrate every year on September 8th, many different physical therapy organizations from all around the world hold campaigns and events to help bring the public awareness about the role of physical therapists and the difference they make every day.

Providing an understanding for why World PT Day matters, the WCPT says, “The day marks the unity and solidarity of the global physical therapy community. It is an opportunity to recognize the work that physical therapists do for their patients and community. Using World Physical Therapy Day as a focus, WCPT aims to support member organizations in their efforts to promote the profession and advance their expertise.” [5]

Are you wondering what kind of impact World Physical Therapy Day makes on the communities in all of these different countries? Just from reports around the world alone, it’s been shown that there is a positive impact in many ways, specifically on the physical therapy profession’s depiction and standing with policy makers as well as the public. [5]

Each member organization and individual physical therapist has their own freedom to design their activities and materials they want to create for World Physical Therapy Day. Because many member organizations have their own national physical therapy days, weeks, and months they can use World PT Day to further highlight the messages and themes that they prioritize and find especially important throughout their country.

Although there is so much freedom behind celebrating and publicizing this day, the WCPT still provides ideas, materials, and its own publicity.

Physical Therapy and Mental Health

The overall theme for World Physical Therapy Day is “Movement for Health.” That is something that remains consistent year after year. Underneath that, is a theme that changes with each year that passes. The theme for 2018 is “Physical Therapy and Mental Health.”

This year’s theme is meant to show the part that physical therapy and physical activity plays in regards to mental health.

The WCPT has five main messages that the campaign is focused around [6]:

  • How exercise is an evidence-based treatment for depression
  • What role physical therapists play when working with patients who have mental health issues
  • What benefits physical activity has in shielding the arrival of depression
  • How better outcomes are experienced by patients when exercise is given by a healthcare professional
  • How there can be an increase in poor physical health in people who have mental health issues

Physical therapy in mental health is a specialty. It is used in both inpatient and outpatient and in different health and mental health settings including psychiatry and psychosomatic medicine. For mental health patients, physical therapists provide health promotion, preventive health care, and treatment and rehabilitation.

According to the definition of physical therapy in mental health, “Physiotherapy in mental health aims to optimize wellbeing and empower the individual by promoting functional movement, movement awareness, physical activity and exercises, bringing together physical and mental aspects. Physiotherapists in mental health contribute to the multidisciplinary team and inter-professional care.” [7]

The WCPT has a World Physical Therapy Day toolkit related to the theme of the year. There is a list of resources and research that both provide general information on physical therapy and mental health as well as lists of research articles supporting the connection between the two. Included are tons of free materials that are available for anyone to download and use. These can be super helpful for physical therapists to spread awareness on the day.

Here is a list of all that is available to be downloaded on the website [8]:

  • Posters
  • Postcards
  • Flyers
  • Infographics
  • Logos
  • Web Ads
  • Stickers
  • Banners
  • T-shirt Designs
  • Press Releases

Below are two PDFs that were created by the WCPT and are available through their toolkit. They promote this year’s theme and provide statistics and other information that are valuable for not only physical therapists, but the general public as well. They are made available for anyone throughout the world to download as they come in multiple different languages. [9]

Click Here to Download the First PDF

WTD Infographic 1

Click Here to Download the Second PDF

WTD Infographic 1

Be sure to head to the World Confederation for Physical Therapy’s website to learn more about both the WCPT and World Physical Therapy Day. Take advantage of all of the research and materials provided for you in order to best celebrate each year’s theme and to take away knowledge about your profession you may not have been an expert on just yet!

We look forward to seeing all of your activities and posts throughout the world related to World Physical Therapy Day. Thank you for all that you do!