What do mental health support workers do?

In this article we will discuss what mental health support workers do. 

We will also briefly discuss what the roles and responsibilities of mental health support workers are, the qualifications needed to become one, and the average earnings of mental health support workers.

What do mental health support workers do?

Mental Health Support Workers also known as STR workers- “Support, Time and Recovery Worker”- are healthcare professionals that assist in the treatment of mental health patients and clients. 

These mental health support workers usually work with in-patients and in hospitals and treatment centres to assist and help mental health patients with mental illness and other mental disabilities to carry out their daily activities such as bathing, taking medication, eating meals etc. 

Mental health support workers tend to work with other mental health professionals such as a psychiatrist, psychologists, counsellor etc, to assist and help individuals with mental health issues including individuals struggling with substance use, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, and other social issues.

They are crucial members of this team of mental health care services who assists other professionals in terms of monitoring patients, providing therapeutic assistance, assisting in daily activities of patients, and also maniting records. 

Mental health support workers tend to be individuals who provide support to patients in aiding recovery or maintaining care. They unusually work alongside other professionals in psychological care or social work. 

What is a mental health support worker?

A mental health support worker is an individual whose primary focus is to assist and contribute to the care and treatment of individuals with mental health related problems, mental illness, and other psychiatric issues. 

A support worker within mental health services tend to the needs of the patients such as assisting in terms of hygiene maintenance, toilet use, medication, eating, exercises etc, 

Their roles differ according to the setting they work in- it is most probable that they will work in treatment facilities, hospitals, and at times in residential settings for older patients. 

Their role is often similar to that of nurses and medical assistance and are usually supervised by a registered nurse and their primary focus is on the mental health and well being of their patients that they care for as part of a larger team of psychologists and psychiatrists. 

Mental health support workers need not be a graduate level or doctoral level professional however they are the most crucial part of treatment and maintenance of well being because they assist the individual in adjusting to life after diagnosis and during treatment.

They provide support and assistance, and as part of a larger team, they are crucial members in helping patients and clients regain or improve their overall functioning and independent living. 

What are the roles and responsibilities of a mental health support worker?

The roles and responsibilities of mental health support workers differ according to the setting they work in. however, on a general level their responsibilities include:

  • Assisting patients with daily and regular responsibilities like housekeeping or other daily activities like eating, hygiene and dressing, moving around, taking medication.
  • They are also tasked with maintaining a record of psychosocial interactions of the patients and reporting the other professionals if they observed any new changes or any abnormal behaviours in the patient. 
  • They also monitor their patients health and diet by tracking or keeping a record of the patient’s nutrition, their calorie intake, what they have eaten, what they have not eaten etc, as well as their bowel output. 
  • They also perform clinical activities including assessment of mental health status, record keeping etc, based on the treatment plans that their patient is on. 
  • They also ensure that their patients participate in therapeutic activities that include mental health counselling, group therapy, as well as physical therapy and exercises. 
  • They are also tasked with manning and ensuring the safety and well-being of the patients with respect to other patients. 
  • They also privide crisis interventions for example in the case of suicide attemps, panic attacks etc. 
  • Support workers along with nurses and doctors are also responsible for administering medications and other treatments.
  • They are also tasked with the restraint and protection of patients who are violent and aggressive. 
  • Support workers, under the supervision of nurses and doctors, also document their patients’ vitals, other data such as height, weight, medication etc and keep these documents up to date. 

Mental health support workers are also tasked with making sure that the intake details of new patients are all in order, so they might maintain the documents and details of new patients as well as work with them in identifying their issues, 

When it comes to the roles and responsibilities of mental health support workers they usually work within communities, with in-home hospice care, as well as in mental health clinics, psychiatric assessment centres or psychiatric emergency centres.

They also tend to work in geriatric facilities in caring for elder patients, especially for those who have mental illness and neurodegenerative diseases. Their places of work also include working with children with mental health issues. 

What are the qualifications needed to become a mental health support worker?

When it comes to the qualifications to become a mental health support worker, one will need at the least a certification of Vocational qualification in the mental health field. 

It is more likely that some employers will hire mental health support workers through an apprenticeship, especially individuals who have had voluntary and paid experience in the field of mental health care. 

In some countries and in some states, mental health support workers will also need experience and qualifications in terms of training and certification for the field For example, being trained and certified in terms of Psychological first aid, or having knowledge and training related to geratic care etc. 

Employers will mostly prefer individu ausl who have had voluntary experience in working with organisations that provide mental health services, nursing, and other roles in healthcare. 

Stills required in this field includes:

  • Patience
  • Empathy and caring person
  • WIllingness to assist and support
  • Ability to manage tasks and prioritise efficiently
  • Assertive and clear communication 
  • Intuitive
  • Firm personality
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Ability to remain professional and maintain composure
  • Ability to adapt to uncertainty
  • A team player who is able to support their team as well as copportate
  • Interpersonal skills that are excellent
  • Ability to de-escalate crisis
  • Ability to act in times of crisis
  • Strong willed 
  • Quick thinking, logical, and problem solver
  • Non Judgemental and empathy 

Conclusion

In this article we have discussed what mental health support workers do. 

We have also briefly discussed what the roles and responsibilities of mental health support workers are, the qualifications needed to become one, and the average earnings of mental health support workers.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a mental health support worker?

These mental health support workers usually work with in-patients and in hospitals and treatment centres to assist and help mental health patients with mental illness and other mental disabilities to carry out their daily activities such as bathing, taking medication, eating meals etc. 

Mental health support workers tend to work with other mental health professionals such as a psychiatrist, psychologists, counsellor etc, to assist and help individuals with mental health issues including individuals struggling with substance use, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, and other social issues.

What skills are needed to be a mental health support worker?

Stills required in this field includes:

  • Patience
  • Empathy and caring person
  • WIllingness to assist and support
  • Ability to manage tasks and prioritise efficiently
  • Assertive and clear communication 
  • Intuitive
  • Firm personality
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Ability to remain professional and maintain composure
  • Ability to adapt to uncertainty
  • A team player who is able to support their team as well as copportate
  • Interpersonal skills that are excellent
  • Ability to de-escalate crisis
  • Ability to act in times of crisis
  • Strong willed 
  • Quick thinking, logical, and problem solver
  • Non Judgemental and empathy 

What can a mental health support career progress to?

A mental health support worker with experience and further training can apple for roles such as:

  • Mental health nurse
  • Assistant practitioner
  • Counsellor(with training)

What is a Level 1 support worker?

The Level 1 Disability Support Worker is a role where the individual assists and  is responsible for assisting individuals with disabilities with direct care services. They help people with disabilities to carry out their daily activities such as bathing, taking medication, eating meals etc. 

Is being a support worker hard?

BEing a support worker is a difficult and challenging role because this role asks a lot out of one in terms of emotionally, physically, and mentally. 

It involves being nonjudgmental, supporting and helping other people all the while being patient, compassionate, and empathic. Caregiving is no easy task because it at times asks us to put ourselves in the backseat while caring for others and this can lead to empathy fatigue, chronic pain, illness, and also mental health issues related to stress. 

Who do support workers work with?

Mental health support workers tend to work with other mental health professionals such as a psychiatrist, psychologists, counsellor etc, to assist and help individuals with mental health issues including individuals struggling with substance use, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, and other social issues.

References

What Is the Role of a Mental Health Worker? LearnDirect. Retrieved on 11 Feb 2022. https://www.learndirect.com/blog/what-is-the-role-of-a-mental-health-worker

What Is The Role Of A Mental Health Worker? Cucumber. Retrieved on 11 feb 2022. https://www.cucumber-recruitment.co.uk/what-is-the-role-of-a-mental-health-worker/

Mental Health Worker. Upskilled. Retrieved on 11 feb 2022. https://www.upskilled.edu.au/your-career/job-roles/mental-health-worker

Mental Health Support Worker. Seek. Retrieved on 11 feb 2022. https://www.seek.com.au/career-advice/role/mental-health-support-worker

Mental Health Support Worker Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications. Indeed. Retrieved on 11 feb 2022.https://www.indeed.com/hire/job-description/mental-health-support-worker?hl=en&co=GB

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