If you are a college student and love helping people, especially those dealing with emotional and psychiatric problems, becoming a mental health worker might be an appropriate option you may consider. This will not only give you the satisfaction that comes with helping people step out of their problems or become more emotionally and mentally stable but the pay package at the end of the day is also quite enticing.
What are the Expected Duties of a Mental Health Worker?
The workers are also referred to as psychiatric technicians. Their work is to monitor mental health patients in psychiatric units such as hospitals and other mental health set-ups. They work under a qualified nurse. The mental health worker is expected to work directly with patients most of the time, assisting in therapy, monitoring the progress of the patients, and carrying out vital health checks such as blood pressure and heart rate.
The work of a mental health worker also involves assisting the patients to eat, maintain cleanliness, and dress. In psychiatric units, mental health workers are part of a larger team consisting of doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers and other caregivers who work together, consulting and relying on each other to give the best possible care to the patients. The mental health worker also keeps daily records of the patient and be prepared to restrain aggressive or violent patients.
What is the Mental Health Worker Certification or Requirements?
To become a mental health worker, a certificate in mental health is required. This can take anything from a semester or two to two years to complete. Technical institutes and colleges offer this cause. The areas that the course covers include mental health conditions, how to relate to the patients, ethical responsibilities, record keeping, understanding medical terms, and patient assessment knowledge. Supervised groundwork is also necessary so that students can come to terms with the practical part of the course. More training can be required after employment before the worker can be allowed to handle patients unsupervised.
Apart from the skills, a mental health worker should be compassionate and very patient. They must be strong-willed, can solve crisis and work as a team member. They must also have the necessary restraining skills required to work with violent patients. Most psychiatric institutions operate 24 hours a day, every day. This means that the workers must be willing to work or put up with different work schedules.
What Can a Mental Health Worker Make in Salary?
The average salary is $15 per hour. Those working in specialty facilities could pocket as much as $23 an hour. The lowest paid workers can make an average of $ 15,680 annually while the most paid would get $ 51200 but this only constitutes a mere 10% of the entire mental health workforce. Mental health worker salary expectation should also vary depending on state and length of employment.
The demand for mental health workers is anticipated to grow by 15% by 2020 as psychiatric patients increase in number especially in substance abuse facilities. Alzheimer is also another contributing factor as many adults will live longer but develop the condition, as speculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.