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How to Become a Mental Health Support Worker: Explore Jobs & Career Paths

The physical health of a person has always been the focus consideration when we talk about health in general. But with the development of healthcare science, now we know the effects of poor mental health and your overall well-being.

With the rise in awareness of the detrimental effects, the need to access mental health experts and professionals has also increased over recent years. There are a lot of people who are interested to become a mental health support worker but don’t know where to start.

If you want to explore your career option as a Mental Health Support Worker, this article is the ultimate guide for you. 

Why Do You Want to Work in the Mental Health Sector?

Working in mental health means working with empathy towards people struggling with their mental health. Being a mental health support worker requires a deep understanding of people’s ideas and emotions.  Which is why it is easily one of the most fulfilling jobs out there. 

For many people, it’s the satisfaction of being able to make a difference in people’s lives. Like any other jobs, there are certain challenges in this vocation. But it is also very rewarding since a mental health support worker works towards ensuring a happier and peaceful life for others.

Addressing the specific needs of each individual, you will be improving the quality of life of others and help them achieve their goals. In terms, it will create a positive and long-lasting impact on their lives and reward you with a sort of satisfaction like no other.

Understanding the Importance of Mental Health

Did you know? 1 in 4 people experience mental health trouble each year in England!

“Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

– World Health Organization (WHO)

For a long time, those in need of mental treatment have been isolated and treated outside traditional health care. In most cases, someone suffering from mental illness was considered a person with poor life choices or individual weakness rather than someone with disordered thinking or behaviour. 

The aspects of mental health are extensive. Civil rights, political rights, cultural rights, and socio-economic rights together consist of a person’s mental health. Without the security provided by these rights, it is almost impossible to maintain proper mental health. 

You need to be aware and empathetic as a mental health support worker


You will need to be aware and empathetic

However, mental health can also be affected by at an individual level. The relationship between two people, whatever that is, can contribute to mental health.  

As a mental health support worker, you will need to be aware, identify and understand these issues and provide support accordingly to the vulnerable patients.

Duties & Responsibilities of a Mental Health Support Worker

The duties and responsibilities of a mental health support worker vary based on specialisation and on-the-job experience. However, your primary task would be to ensure a safe and comfortable space for those experiencing mental illness. 

In order to provide the same comfort, a mental health support worker is responsible for the following duties: 

  • Constantly monitoring the patient’s mental state. 
  • Ensure the patient is following a proper diet and has a health food habit. 
  • Analysing an individual’s needs and drawing up a focused support plan.
  • Maintain hygiene and guarantee consistent communication with the patient and his/her relatives.
  • Run individual and group therapy sessions.
  • Collaborating with other involved professionals, such as doctors and therapists for the consistency and overall well-being of the patients.
  • Assist in recording and updating patients records.
  • Referring to other agencies and services for further help
  • Reassure and provide emotional support to individuals and their families.
  • Helping them to access support facilities and other community services.

How to Become a Mental Health Support Worker

The steps to being a mental health support worker are several. But it requires you to have the willingness to care, put the time in understanding different aspects of mental health, get training and learn the ways to execute tasks in hand. 

However, you will also need a certain degree of formal qualifications, skills and training to help you do your job properly and develop further as a professional.

Qualifications Required to Become a Mental Health Support Worker

There are no specific prerequisites to becoming a mental health support worker. For instance, your employer may ask for a certain level of formal education as a requirement. Relevant training and courses will also help you improve your employability and future prospect in this sector. 

Some previous experience, such as volunteering or apprenticeship will put you ahead among your peers in this job sector. Additional self-development and personal qualities will make you organised, confident and proficient in how you go on about your works.

Academic qualifications

It is possible to work in mental health without a degree. However, some academic credentials will help you progress further in this sector and most importantly, help you understand different aspects of mental health issues in-depth. A diploma in mental health or social care subjects will move your career a few leaps ahead than others.

Volunteering and Apprenticeship 

Some previous experience, like volunteering or trainee work or apprenticeship, will help you tremendously. You can find apprenticeship here or on the NHS website, which could lead to direct employment in the respective institute.

Online Training and Personal Development

Numerous online courses are available in the relevant field and for other personal development. For instance, the Mental Health Support Worker Training course covers mental health basics, Children’s mental health, behaviour analysis, behaviour disorders and much more.

Some institutes like iStudy offer accredited certifications, such as International Accreditation Organization (IAO) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which is recognised as professional progress. 

These courses not only will help you gain specific skills and knowledge, but also will make you confident of the relevant subject. 

More relevant courses: 

The best thing is, they are very affordable and that you can learn at your own pace. And there is no need for any prior qualification or prerequisites in terms of experience.

Qualifications required to become a mental health support worker

Skills Required to Become a Mental Health Support Worker

As a mental health support worker, your first and foremost is empathy and compassion towards human well-being. No-brainer, right?

In addition, you will benefit from having or acquiring the following mix of transferable and specific skills:

  • Patience
  • Enthusiasm
  • Emotional resilience
  • Punctuality
  • Good communication skills 
  • Teamwork skills
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Organisation skills 
  • Time management skills
  • Resourcefulness: The ability to show initiative.
  • Literacy skills.
  • Numeracy skills.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • IT skills

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Career Outlook of a Mental Health Worker

You will have a range of opportunity to work in the healthcare sector.  Often, mental health support worker position is recognised as a stepping stone to move up into a management role or a more specialised role.

With experience, training and specialising different aspects of mental health care, you can explore your option and become a professional in any of the following positions

Mental health coordinator, counsellor, psychotherapist, behavioural expert, health campaigner, youth development outreach worker, emotional well-being advocate, family support worker, clinical social worker, psychiatrist, community support worker.

Mental Health Workers’ Salary Scale in the UK

The salary of a mental health support worker varies from location to location and institutions. In the beginning, a mental health support worker can get paid from at least £16,000 to £27,000 a year, depending on expertise and professional development.

To Conclude

While people in all walks of life are suffering from different mental health issues, the need for mental health support workers is gradually increasing around the world. Now there are new opportunities for health workers to fit themselves in. Alongside physical health support workers, mental health support workers are contributing to the health sector worldwide.

If you want to work in mental health, it’s safe to assume that you want to give a meaning to the lives that are struggling to maintain mental stability. People who are suffering from mental health issues are often not understood, or worse misunderstood by others around them. If you want to work in mental health, it goes by without saying that you want to understand and help these people to minimise their suffering.

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