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Health & Social Care careers

Social Care: Mental Health

Why is mental health so important?

Mental health issues can be some of the most emotionally distressing problems for people to deal with. Consequently, the support, guidance and care that mental health workers provide to people affected by these difficult situations can be life-changing, both for the service users and for the people that are working their socks off to help them.

Indeed, if you want to get involved in this line of work, you should get ready for an emotionally taxing yet incredibly rewarding challenge.

What does mental health work involve?

When it comes to helping people with mental health conditions, there is a certain amount of crossover between many different health and social care professions. Mental health nurses, doctors, social workers and social care assistants all work together to form a dynamic team that helps people to cope with all kinds of mental health issues.

You could be helping service users who suffering from all kinds of psychological and personality disorders, including schizophrenia, dementia, agoraphobia, clinical depression, bipolar disorder and many, many more.

These psychological conditions can be brought on by a range of factors or triggers, such as psychological trauma, drug use and deterioration with age. As a result of this, mental health professionals may be liaising and collaborating from time to time with social care workers that deal with other niche social problems.

People suffering from mental health issues may be confused, frustrated and aggressive as a result of the problems they are going through. Therefore, mental health workers must use their expertise to build relationships with service users, provide them with reassurance and thus help to prevent them from harming themselves or others. Indeed, the unpredictability of this area of social care work is one of the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of it.

What roles exist in this field?

Essentially, the social workers, social care assistants and mental health nurses who work in this area provide their service users with professional care, support and guidance. They strive to help them cope with, and recover from, their various psychological problems.

If you pursue a career in this area, you’ll spend your time meeting with service users, speaking to them and learning about their needs to figure out where they most need support. Furthermore, you will be making the important decisions about what assistance specific asylum seekers will require, such as one-on-one therapy sessions, group therapy, medication or constant daily care.

When it comes to mental health issues, this assessment process is incredibly important. Identifying the mental health problem and evaluating its severity is truly integral to providing an appropriate solution.

Many mental health problems will initially be identified by general practice doctors or hospital staff. However, many social care workers form teams that are completely focused on making any vital interventions.

You could work as part of a ‘Crisis Resolution Team’ that provides a rapid response service to people undergoing a ‘mental health crisis’. You could even join an ‘Early Intervention Team’, which aims to help people that show early signs of developing mental health problems. These guys stage interventions before service users’ issues fully develop. After all, prevention is often better than cure!

What about long-term support?

If you break into this line of work, you might also be getting actively involved in helping service users to get back on their feet and develop a new life for themselves. This area of work is a lot more hands-on.

You might be employed as a mental health nurse and work within an NHS or private institution. Alternatively, you could be working within a Community Mental Health Team or an 'Assertive Outreach Team' that supports people in the community outside of mental health institutions.

Your job will be incredibly varied and you could be getting involved with all kinds of fulfilling tasks. For instance, you might be arranging arts therapy sessions, offering counselling services or supporting service users on hospital visits.

Mental health issues frequently sit on the backburner, queued up far behind physical health problems. Thankfully, this has been addressed in recent years, and this area of health and social care is being given a lot more consideration.

Working with those suffering from mental health problems is not only vital, but massively beneficial to the service users, as well as hugely rewarding for the carer. Sound good to you? If you answered with a resounding ‘yes!’, then good on you, this career path might be the one for you.

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