Mental health and substance abuse social workers assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. Their activities may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, case management, client advocacy, prevention, and education.
Mental health social workers’ duties entail counselling clients or patients regarding personal issues, collaborating with other professionals to assess client needs or plan treatments, maintaining client records and monitoring clients to evaluate the treatment progress.
To be eligible to practice as a psychiatric social worker, psychiatric social workers should earn a bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field like psychology. In addition, one must earn a master of social work and be licensed to function in their state. Further, the candidates can pursue a social work internship or training during which they work with clients experiencing mental health issues.
Psychiatric social workers work in a variety of settings, including private practice, hospitals, mental health clinics, community health organizations, primary care facilities and rehabilitation treatment centres. Mental health social workers also provide health services in partial residential facilities and outpatient community settings.
Due to the nature of social work, mental health social worker needs to have excellent communication and problem-solving skills, passion to help patients, emotional and interpersonal skills, and empathy and compassion towards clients in stress. A successful psychiatric social worker maintains a good rapport with clients and possesses a good network of social support systems.
Every career requires an element of study and academic qualification, and there can be several study routes and pathways you can take. In following any academic pathway you will study subjects that contribute to the specialised knowledge required to achieve your career goals. These qualifications provide a future employer with the evidence that you have the desired knowledge, understanding and experience of their industry, so it’s important to consider the various types of qualifications available to you and to understand how they can boost your career and create opportunities for you.
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