It’s that time of year again—a time when physical therapists around the world take a moment to shine a spotlight on the important work they do. World Physical Therapy Day happens every year on September 8, and it’s an opportunity for physical therapists across the globe to raise awareness about their contributions to not only physical fitness, but also health and wellness in general. It’s also a day to recognize the positive impact PTs have on their individual communities, whether that be through advancing the health of the local population or volunteering and giving back.

There’s a different theme for the festivities each year. For 2018, that theme is “physical therapy and mental health.” As the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) explains on its website, this campaign focuses on the following key messages:

  • “Exercise as an evidence-based treatment for depression.
  • The role of physical therapists working with patients who may have mental health issues.
  • The benefits of physical activity in protecting against the emergence of depression.
  • How better outcomes are experienced when exercise is delivered by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist.
  • How people with mental health issues are more at risk of having poor physical health.”

Why It Matters

So, why is this such a big deal? And why should you participate? After all, as a PT, you already educate patients on the value of your services every day, right? Well, in addition to giving clinics a chance to break out of their normal, day-to-day clinic operations, World PT Day offers providers a platform for discussing the impact of their services and a reason to educate individuals about the ways PTs contribute to all areas of health. Furthermore, World Physical Therapy Day activities can positively impact the public’s perception of the profession and increase awareness among local and national lawmakers.

How to Participate

Ready to get involved? Great! Many WCPT member organizations around the world host their own events. However, you don’t have to attend a WCPT-sponsored event—or even stick to the yearly theme—to get involved. WCPT encourages individual therapists and organizations to participate in any way they see fit. That way, as the WCPT puts it, “they can reflect key national priorities and messages.” However, the WCPT supplies ideas, publicity resources, and educational materials right here. Looking for more celebration inspiration? Here are a few ideas:

Use the Toolkit

The WCPT provides a World PT Day toolkit, which makes it super easy for practices and groups to get involved. The toolkit includes:

  • educational resources,
  • t-shirt designs,
  • stickers,
  • banners, and
  • other resources for your campaign.

Attend Local Events

As mentioned above, WCPT organizations around the globe host local events. Some organizations may not limit their events to September 8, so if you missed this year’s World PT Day, it’s worth checking in with your regional chapter to see if there are additional opportunities to get involved. Can’t find one? Host an event of your own!


While any time is a good time to volunteer, World PT Day is a great reason to get out there and spread your message to parts of the community you may not typically reach. Whether that be by hosting a community clean-up event, volunteering at your local food pantry, or running a clothing drive, this is your chance to connect with your community and help those in need, while also educating folks on the value of PT.

Every day, physical therapists demonstrate how essential they are to their communities by helping patients achieve their goals. But, World Physical Therapy Day gives the global PT community a chance to stand together in solidarity and raise their collective voice. Are you taking part in World PT Day this year? Tell us how in the comment section below!