Are you suited to a Mental Health Support Worker job?

In recent years, mental health has entered public perception as a healthcare issue worth discussing, tackling and improving, and finally, it is beginning to get some much-needed and long overdue attention. As a result however, there is more focus than ever before on mental health, and many organisations are hiring Mental Health Support Workers – that is, a Healthcare Assistant or Carer trained not just in physical, but mental care and support too.

Read on to find out more about what this role may entail.

What does ‘Mental Health’ refer to?

The words ‘mental health’ refer to the state of wellbeing of an individual’s psychiatry, that is; their mind. Technically it means the absence of a mental illness, but if there are mental health issues or problems, this usually would refer to those. Someone with adequate mental health would, like someone with adequate physical health, be considered to be reasonably healthy – but in an emotional, psychological and behavioural sense, rather than a sense of physical ability.

Mental health illnesses are varied, and many are common. These include but are by no means limited to anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, behavioural and personality disorders, anger issues, addictions, phobias, dissociative disorders, eating problems, mania and psychosis.

What does a Mental Health Support Worker do?

Mental Health Support Workers work in the same way as traditional healthcare support roles do, but with a focus on mental health rather than physical. They often work in support of other carers, social care professionals, and/or mental health specialist doctors or nurses.

The responsibilities of a Mental Health Support Worker can include:

  • monitoring and reporting on a patient’s mental and cognitive state
  • assisting other mental health professionals in their duties
  • ensuring that patients are properly medicated (if required)
  • ensuring patients are attending relevant treatment or therapies
  • maintaining a patient’s hygiene and wellbeing (if they’re unable to do so sufficiently themselves)
  • communicating with their family and loved ones to keep them up-to-date.

All of this needs to be done within an environment that feels safe and comfortable for the patient, and depending on their needs, may need to change regularly.

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What environment would you work in?

Mental Health Support Workers may work both in professional environments (hospitals or inpatient units of various types), or in patient’s homes, depending on what is required from their care. Every patient is different and all have different needs.

These needs may change over time and patients may, have to switch between support workers as they move elsewhere or change treatment plans.

What type of salary can a Mental Health Support Worker expect to earn?

The amount you can expect to earn in this type of role varies between employers and also specialisms. As an average however, carers and support workers focusing on mental health care can expect to receive from about £8.50 an hour, which would work out as approximately £16,600 per annum. Mental Health Support Workers in London can expect to receive a little more, often in line with location-based salary increases dictated by local healthcare trusts.

Working as a support worker through OUTT, we guarantee a minimum rate of £10/hour plus.

What type of person suits this role?

Support workers in general are remarkable people, but admittedly, a role in mental health isn’t for everyone. The kind of qualities you can expect to find in those working in this role include large amounts of:

  • compassion
  • empathy
  • kindness
  • understanding

… and the ability to move quickly should a situation arise where it is required!

Whilst Mental Health Support Workers aren’t required to be fully medically trained, they usually have a basic knowledge of healthcare and are able to communicate effectively with those who are fully qualified. These individuals also need to be very emotionally aware – able to pick up on sometimes silent or tonal cues from patients, as well as observant; so that if a patient’s condition changes, it can be raised and dealt with as required.

Registering with OUTT provides experienced social care candidates the opportunity to build an employer review base and take full control of where and when they work. It’s your life, live it! Register with us now!