What does a mental health support worker do? This is a question many people ask, yet rarely know the full answer to. Mental health support workers play a vital role in the mental health care system. They provide support and care to individuals who have various mental health issues, like anxiety and depression.
The role of a mental health support worker is not only to offer support and assistance but also to educate, advocate and empower individuals to take control of their own mental health. In this article, we will explore in detail the various roles and responsibilities a mental health support worker may have, as well as additional options for those seeking support.
Provide emotional support to clients with mental health issues
One of the primary responsibilities of a mental health support worker is to provide emotional support to clients who are struggling with mental health issues. Tasks can involve listening to their concerns and providing an empathetic ear, as well as offering practical advice and guidance.
Mental health support workers can also help individuals to identify and manage their emotions, as well as teach them coping strategies for dealing with feelings of anxiety, depression, or stress. This type of emotional support can be invaluable for individuals who are struggling with mental health issues and can help them to feel understood and validated.
By offering a safe and supportive environment, mental health support workers can help individuals to gain the confidence and skills they need to manage their mental health and achieve their goals.
Monitor mental health symptoms and provide interventions
Another key responsibility of a mental health support worker is to monitor the mental health symptoms of the individuals they are working with and provide appropriate interventions when necessary. This may involve observing changes in behaviour or mood or monitoring the use of medication, and taking action to support the individual when their mental health deteriorates.
In some cases, this may involve providing crisis support, such as talking the individual down from a panic attack or de-escalating a potentially dangerous situation. Mental health support workers are trained to handle these situations in a safe and effective manner and to prioritise the safety and well-being of the individuals they are working with.
Develop and implement individualised care plans
In addition to providing emotional and practical support, mental health support workers are also responsible for developing and implementing individualised care plans for the individuals they are working with. This involves working closely with the person to understand their specific needs, goals, and challenges, and developing a tailored plan that addresses these areas.
The care plan may include specific objectives and goals, as well as a range of strategies and interventions to support their recovery and well-being. For example, the plan may include regular therapy sessions, participation in community-based activities or the development of specific coping strategies to manage stress or anxiety.
Liaise with other professionals
What does a mental health support worker do to bridge the gap between professionals? Liaising with other professionals is important to ensure that the individual receives the right type of care and support for their specific needs. For example, a mental health support worker may work closely with a psychologist to provide additional therapy support.
This coordination of care is essential for the success of the person's recovery and well-being. Mental health support workers play a crucial role in facilitating these relationships and ensuring that the individual's care plan is being implemented effectively.
Assist clients in navigating the mental health care system
Another important responsibility of a mental health support worker is to assist clients in navigating the mental health care system. This can involve helping the individual understand the various options available to them, such as therapy, medication, or community-based services, and assisting them in accessing these resources.
Mental health support workers are often familiar with the resources available in their local community and can help people to identify the options that will best meet their needs. They can also assist with making appointments, and accompanying the person to appointments or therapy sessions if necessary.
Provide education about mental health issues
Education and information about mental health issues is an important part of a mental health support worker's role. This may involve educating clients and their families about specific mental health conditions, the symptoms and effects of these conditions, and available treatments and resources.
Mental health support workers can also provide information about lifestyle changes that can help to improve mental health, such as healthy eating, regular exercise, and stress management techniques. They can also provide advice on how to talk to friends, family, and coworkers about mental health, and how to access support from community resources.
Support clients in developing coping skills and strategies
What does a mental health support worker do to support clients in developing coping skills and strategies to manage their mental health symptoms? They may teach individuals how to identify and manage their emotions, as well as provide them with tools and techniques to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
For example, mental health support workers may teach clients mindfulness practices, relaxation techniques, or cognitive behavioural therapy strategies that can help them to better manage their thoughts and feelings. They may also provide support and guidance as clients work to develop a daily routine that promotes mental wellness, such as exercise, healthy eating, and regular sleep.
Facilitate group therapy and support sessions
In addition to working one-on-one with clients, mental health support workers may also facilitate group therapy and support sessions. These group sessions provide an opportunity for individuals to connect with others who are facing similar challenges, and to receive support and encouragement from one another.
Mental health support workers are responsible for creating a safe and supportive environment for group members, and for facilitating discussions and activities that promote healing and growth. They may lead group members through exercises, share their own experiences, or provide educational information about mental health topics.
Advocate for client rights and needs
Finally, mental health support workers may advocate for the rights and needs of their clients as part of their role. This may involve advocating for access to necessary services and resources, such as therapy, medication, or housing, or working to protect the person's rights and dignity.
For example, a mental health support worker may speak up on behalf of a client who is being treated unfairly or mistreated, or who is not receiving the care they need. They may also work to educate clients and their families about their rights and responsibilities, and help them to understand how to access the resources and support they need.
Find additional support with Like Family
While mental health support workers can assist with complex mental health needs, people in need may also benefit from the aid of a social support worker. At Like Family, our Carers help people to increase their independence, get out and about in the community and enjoy life via social support.
Our social support workers (who we call Social Carers) can assist with activities like arts & craft, exercise, transport, household tasks and much more. They all undergo a comprehensive vetting process, including an NDIS Worker Check, to ensure they are reliable and trustworthy. They cannot provide counselling or other mental health-specific support.
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our services, or sign up below!