Latvia National OT News
News from Latvia, 2019
World Occupational Therapy Day – our opportunity to shine
by Unda Avota (LAOT Board member)
As every year, Latvian Association of Occupational Therapists organized various events within the framework of the World OT Day. This year they lasted for a whole week. In addition to annual activities in OT workplaces, usually dedicated to educating patients or other specialists, special attention was paid to health promotion and well-being by reaching out to a part of the community that has not been exposed to OT until now. In general, there were various events and activities, but we would like to emphasize those that were aimed at wider public.
Six days in a row, one of the capital’s largest shopping malls hosted interactive, educational events open to anyone passing by. Each day was devoted to a different theme: Balance Day – about occupational balance in everyday life, Flow Day – getting in flow state with creativity & leisure activities, Peace Day – stress management & mental health promotion, Assistive Devices Day – assistive products testing & adaptive activities, Ergonomics Day – adjusting the environment, Wheelchair Day – overcoming obstacles with wheelchairs to promote empathy and reduce stigma. Each day there was variety of competitions and opportunities to participate in different activities, also each participant received a prize. As events were hosted by both OTs and OT students, it also provided an excellent opportunity for students to learn by experience and practice how to promote public health.
To reach wider community, OTs participated in 2 radio shows and 1 TV health show. The extensive program of events also aroused media interest about OT, as a result of which the Latvian Association of Occupational Therapists was also invited to visit the morning news program and a separate news story on OT in a wider context in Latvia was prepared and aired.
Occupational therapists visited several schools in Latvia to discuss health and well-being issues with children and young people and to promote healthy habits. Young people were also able to appreciate environmental accessibility by moving around with technical aids.
To reach the general public, social campaign in Facebook and Instagram was launched using hashtag #1padomsveselibai (#1HealthAdvice), inviting every OT to share with his followers simple, small tips that everyone can do daily to promote their health and well-being.
We encourage everyone to take a broader look, including non-standard approaches to promoting public health.