They work in teams with other professionals, including managers, social workers, other outreach and community support workers, drug action groups, youth offending services, and with the police, education authority and schools, health authorities and housing departments etc.
They provide support and guidance in various ways, including individual support and counselling via such activities as shopping with people who need care and support, taking them to appointments, developing everyday skills such as how to make a cup of tea or prepare and cook a meal safely, or simply being with them in their home environment. Other ways of providing support and guidance include organising activities such as sports, drama and educational activities, group discussions, and compiling and disseminating information.
These workers usually have a number of individuals that they get to know very well. They may work from individuals’ homes, outside in the local area, on the wards of the local hospital and in community or day centres.
Qualifications for all types of mental health support worker is variable.For some roles there are no formal entry level qualifications, but entrants need to be literate and numerate. The Level 3 Preparing for Work in the Care Sector would provide underpinning knowledge for this role. Previous experience of working with people in a social care/support setting can be very useful.
For others it is necessary to have at least one year’s experience of working/caring for people who need care and support, and be willing to undertake further training. A Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care (HSC) is desirable, or be working towards a qualification relevant to this area of work.
Everyone working in adult social care needs English, number, digital and employability skills (including team work, problem solving, planning your ongoing learning and development and managing your own health and wellbeing.). Together these are known as core skills.