Mental health is high on the agenda and has suffered from historic funding problems and stigma in the past. If you’ve ever considered a career working in this field, then you might be wondering what skills and qualifications are required. Here we look at what a mental health support worker does and the qualities you will need to do the job:
Support workers in any field primarily provide the role of supporting others. People who need help and their families will require the services of support workers both physically and mentally, so they can lead a more independent and happier lifestyle.
Support workers work with those considered vulnerable and include such areas of mental health disabilities, learning difficulties, young offenders, relationship problems and the elderly. Children in care will also require specialist children’s support workers. Any support work will require a detailed plan of the care and help they need that will be unique to every individual. The support given can include everything from how to look after themselves, dealing with emotional traumas, advice on safe sexual practices and if necessary where they can access Home STI kits London based or elsewhere in the country such as those provided by https://www.bexleysexualhealth.org/home_sti_kits/. Individuals that work in these roles do not judge any situations, but help the individual with any outcomes that may arise from decisions that they make.
The advantages of this kind of work include making a real difference to lives of the people you support. Job satisfaction is high in this role even the work is tough, can be emotionally draining and involve long hours. The disadvantages include shift work, which could be a split shift system and the high possibility of both evening and weekend work. However, if you’re looking for a job that makes a difference, is not the normal 9-5 mundane and has a real chance of career progression, then support work could be for you.
Previous experience of working in a supportive role would be beneficial but there are no specific prior qualifications required to start an entry level position in this field. What matters most is your positive attitude and a genuine desire to help others. Volunteering and charity work are good ways of gaining of experience in learning how to support people.
The skills that will be useful to have include the ability to not judge, patience, compassion and to enjoy the company of a wide range of people. If you’re not a people person, then this isn’t the career for you. You’ll need to be a good listener, offer counsel, be prepared to do small chores to help people, helping people to tackle life skills, communicate with other family members and treating everyone fairly, according to their needs. You’ll need to pass a DBS Check to work with any vulnerable people.
Specifically, for mental health workers, the support provided will include basic therapy, care, monitoring conditions and assisting with daily activities and medication. Your main place of work will normally be a psychiatric hospital or a residential mental health facility. Training in crisis intervention and how to cope with urgent situations will also form part of training for this role. Safety and well-being of the patient is the utmost goal of all those working in this area of care.
Useful abilities include the ability to maintain composure during stressful situations, flexibility, ability to adapt to fast changing environment and compassion. Strong interpersonal skills are essential so you can relate to many different people and communicate effectively.