The tasks of a mental health social worker

There are many jobs for social workers available but one of the more demanding positions is that of a mental health social worker. These are professionals who deal with people who have a mental illness or they have issues with substance abuse. These people often are treated one-on-one or in group therapy as well as crisis intervention. The social worker takes on the responsibility of teaching these sufferers the skills they need for day to day living and much more.

Generally speaking, all social workers are involved with people who need help with dealing with issues and problems that they are incapable of facing alone and their lives are being adversely affected by them. Many jobs for social workers involve counseling patients, providing therapy or practical aid and assistance with the crisis they are facing. The minimum educational attainment is a bachelor’s degree in social sciences but for those who are genuinely interested in progressing in this career a master’s degree is highly recommended, as a matter of fact a master’s degree is required for those positions where there is an elevated level of responsibility.

The duties of the mental health social worker depends very much on the setting and the individuals expectations of their position. If the patient is residing in a supervised facility as an in-patient the medical social worker will develop a plan for the discharge of the patient. This may include such training as self-medication, housing acquisition, developing and organizing out-patient therapy and seeing to it that the patient has enough support after discharge and is not left to his or her own devices.

There are many out-patient settings where the mental health social worker can provide useful input and assistance. Many employers rely on these social workers to help employees deal with work-related stress or to help them cope with issues which are stopping them from being an effective and productive employee. Often substance abuse is the key and the social worker will provide counseling and assistance in getting treatment.

Crisis intervention is very important; it is a form of short term therapy where the social worker deals with an individual who needs immediate help in dealing with a sudden loss or a changing situation which is beyond the scope of the individual’s ability to cope. This could very well be the result of a natural disaster such as an earthquake where everything is lost or the death of someone is particularly close to the patient. The objective is to get the individual through the crisis and then into long term counseling and therapy.

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