Skip to content
BASED IN Leeds, England

Chris Wood

QUALIFIED IN January 2019

Chris decided to study occupational therapy after talking to some newly-qualified friends at a summer festival. Having enjoyed working in forensic mental health on an in-patient ward, he’s just joined a social enterprise as a specialist occupational therapist supporting the homeless population in Leeds.

I love the variety you get in mental health – I enjoy being able to get to know an individual as a fellow human being, despite their complex difficulties, conditions and illnesses. It enables me to make a difference rather than a diagnosis. On paper, many of my service users look like they’re be difficult or dangerous to work with. But through working with them, I get to see so many wonderful qualities that they have – they often just need support and encouragement.

“In my new role, I’ll be working with people who are on the margins of society. People who face lots of barriers when it comes to accessing healthcare and equitable health, such as the homeless, asylum seekers and refugees.”

Occupational therapy is a collaborative profession. I always solve problems in partnership with the people I work with rather than for them. To give you an example, one guy I worked with was eager to do some cooking on the ward. Because he had difficulty in processing information, we broke down a set of recipe instructions into simple steps that he could follow on his own. He now cooks regularly and with minimal support – it’s great to see how proud he is of his achievements.

“I do this job because it allows me to make a difference to the lives of others, whether I’m working with someone to solve a practical issue or showing them the qualities and strengths that they may not realise they have.”

I support some really vulnerable people, not only helping them to have better health outcomes, but also raising awareness of the stigma and prejudice that often exists. I feel very fortunate that I’m able to have that impact.


Discover more about day-to-day life as an occupational therapist