What does a Mental Health Social Worker Do?

Once school’s finished and full accreditation has been achieved, what does a mental health social worker do? What kind of positions might they find themselves most inclined to obtain? Read on as we cover some of the basic facts involving this line of career pursuit.

General Career Info

We can begin by taking a look at what it is, in general, that today’s mental health social worker does. A professional working in this respect works with members of the public as well as in private registrations in order to assist with psychological needs whereas they pertain to overall quality of life and welfare. Ultimately, physical health is this professional’s concern when working with clientele and prioritizing outwardly from there, the ability to function socially, and in an economically dependent manner if possible.

There are many places and environments in which the mental health social worker might find themselves working after school accreditation. This type of professional may work with troubled veterans, children, substance abuse sufferers, the homeless, and many other, at-risk groups. For more info, the National Association of Social Workers gives some excellent, additional examples of applications of the trade.

Education, Outlook, Pay

Such flexibility in work environment and goals is also echoed in the flexibility of the educational paths that can bring one to work here. One might major in general psychology while others major in social work degrees. Majors and minors both can therefore be tweaked so as to be generally prepared for social work or even more narrowly focused on a very specific line of work within mental health social work.

As far as pay rates within the field, numbers do vary. According to the BLS though, the median 50% of workers here earn around $42,170 (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211023.htm). The occupational outlook of this career is also promising, with an above average growth trend of 12% according to the bureau (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm#tab-6).

Specific Occupational Applications

Want to know more about some of the specific work roles played by many of today’s mental health social workers? Here are a few, brief examples.

Transitional Services

When inmates are released from prison, they most often need substantial help and support in transitioning back to a stable life on the outside. A social worker here may be found working in special facilities often referred to as “halfway houses” or within other counseling facilities helping this group. Every day, this worker will see different, transitioning clients and assist them in any number of areas. Drug abuse, goal support, community resources, and many other matters can all come into play here.

Emergency Relief Services

Emergencies can happen at any time, and as a result, families, relationships, and lives can all be dramatically changed in the blink of an eye. Many social workers therefore work with emergency relief services. The American Red Cross, local community service centers, government agencies, and non-profit organizations are all places that help people in times of such great need via the counseling and resource work of mental health social workers.

Victim Support Services

There are also many private and government-run organizations that provide support to the victims of crimes. No matter the crime or circumstance, there is likely a service geared specifically toward helping in the aftermath. Mental health social workers are a big part of this.

Community Services

Whether by county, city, or other regional distinction, virtually all areas provide community services from within a community center or some sort of social services office. In this area, the social worker may help to handle case flow in determining benefits, they may help with handicapped and special needs individuals, or they may do a combination of these and other things. This is considered community social work.

Mental health social workers serve in so many important areas. It’s certain that society would be undeniably amiss without these professionals. For those interested in taking this noble career path, these are the basics of mental health social work one might expect after educational accreditation has been achieved.

Related Resource: Top 10 Best Online Social Work Degree Programs