In Memoriam: Heather Hunter, Beloved Mother And Community Pillar 2024

Obituary: Heather Hunter, Trailblazing Occupational Therapist and Advocate for Children’s Mental Health


Heather Hunter, a renowned occupational therapist specializing in the mental health of children and families, passed away at the age of 64 due to esophageal cancer. Her unwavering dedication to supporting the emotional well-being of young individuals left an enduring legacy in the field of occupational therapy.

Early Life and Education

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Heather attended James Gillespie’s High School before pursuing a diploma in occupational therapy from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, in 1980. Her passion for empowering children and families through play-based therapy ignited during her early years as a practicing occupational therapist.

Pioneering Work in Mental Health

Heather’s groundbreaking work in the mental health field took her to various hospitals across the central belt of Scotland. She played a pivotal role in supporting traumatized children’s emotional, sensory, and environmental needs, collaborating with other professionals to develop innovative therapeutic approaches.

Academic Achievements and Leadership

After two decades of clinical practice, Heather transitioned into academia, joining Queen Margaret University as a lecturer in 1999. She championed the application of psychoanalytic thinking to occupational therapy, enriching the curriculum with her vast knowledge and experience. Her dedication to nurturing future practitioners led to her appointment as senior lecturer and program leader.

Contributions to Mental Health Advocacy

Heather’s commitment to advocating for children’s mental health extended beyond the classroom. In 2005, she was appointed to the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, where she played a crucial role in ensuring fair and compassionate treatment for individuals facing compulsory treatment orders.

Personal Qualities and Legacy

Heather possessed an exceptional ability to connect with children, families, and colleagues alike. Her vibrant personality and mischievous smile brought joy to those around her. Known for her impeccable style and keen intellect, she inspired students and colleagues with her dedication to the profession.

Family and Mourners

Heather leaves behind a loving family, including her husband, Craig Hunter, and their children, Murray and Marsali. She is also survived by her mother and sister. The occupational therapy community and countless individuals whose lives she touched mourn her loss.


Heather Hunter’s legacy as an occupational therapist and advocate for children’s mental health will continue to inspire future generations. Her contributions to the field have left an indelible mark, empowering countless individuals to overcome adversity and live fulfilling lives.