What types of mental health jobs are available?
Mental health jobs and social care careers can be massively rewarding, and make a significant difference in the life opportunities and quality of living for people coping with mental health conditions.
There is no defined patient, so as a mental health social care worker, you could work with children or adults in any number of scenarios!
There are way too many to list here, but some of the examples include things like:
- Healthcare and nursing
- Social care
- Charity sector
What are the benefits of a job in mental health?
Mental health jobs support a wide-reaching range of illnesses, and a lot of us will experience some sort of mental illness at some point, or have somebody in our families who does. This means that there are a considerable number of career options to think about in the UK!
Whether you are just getting started out and looking for mental health jobs, or are looking for options to develop your career as a mental health professional, you have a lot of routes to choose from.
Don’t worry if you change your mind either (we’ve all been there!) – mental health social care skills are transferrable. This means that if you decide to change your route, take a new type of job or transfer to a different kind of care setting, you take all the skills and everything you have learned with you.
What does a mental health social care worker do?
Working as a mental health support worker is all about helping people live their best lives. That might mean something very different for each person, so you need to be adaptable!
For example, mental health jobs many involve:
- Help somebody with their daily life – from personal care to travel and social interactions.
- Provide support at a residential facility – from organising activities, helping with meal times to everyday tasks such as washing and dressing.
- Work with a patient one-to-one, to understand their needs and help with learning independence, how to manage a home, and taking care of ‘life admin’ like budgeting and shopping.
- Be part of a team at a mental health residential centre, or at a daytime support centre providing help, advice and a listening ear.
The most critical skills for a mental health support worker in the homelessness sector are patience and listening. Some homeless people are resistant to receiving the care on offer, while others have complex needs requiring several agencies or support teams to work together so having the right personality is a key skill!
What types of patients would I care for in mental health?
Pretty much anybody can struggle with mental health issues, (1 in 4 according to MIND) so this is probably one of the most diverse social care careers to choose!
You might work with a team who specialise in a particular mental health condition.
You could work with children or at a school or educational facility to support young people coping with their mental health.
Or you could work with one person who needs dedicated help to manage their mental health illness every day.
Are there mental health jobs working with children?
Yes, there certainly are! For children and young adults, mental health can be a significant barrier to all sorts of things. Think about:
- Studying at school, college or university
- Socialising and making friends
- Applying for jobs or work experience placements
- Taking part in sports or activities
- Getting about and interacting with the broader world
- Managing with serious life events and coping with the impact
What jobs are available in mental health?
Support workers are a vital solution in the UK helping people living with mental health conditions. As such, you have a wide variety of careers to choose from!
- Community mental health teams: these teams usually support a specific set of people, for example, young people and teenagers who are struggling with their mental health, or people who are suffering from substance abuse.
- Residential mental health facilities: some people live in residential settings long-term or short-term, and there are social care jobs including personal care, activities coordination, and one-to-one support.
- Mental health support worker roles – these usually do not require a particular qualification and can span areas including residential care, education, community care, rehabilitation and custodial environments.
What skills do I need to work in mental health social care?
The skills you need are mostly about your values and personality – having the right mindset is essential to being able to help patients with mental health conditions!
Those most critical skills are:
- Being genuine
One of the most significant benefits to working in mental health is the relationships you form along the way with the people you help. This is an opportunity to learn more about how illnesses impact people, their behaviour, and their life, and what you can do to make that more manageable!