If you are looking forward to what is mental health technician? You are at the right place to get your answer.
Mental health workers or Behavioral health technicians are also known as Mental Health Technicians.
These are the people who work for people’s mental health treatment. They treat people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities.
It’s a combined skillset and it’s unique which no other discipline has it. There are a great variety of settings in which Mental Health technicians can work. Prisons, emergency rooms, group homes, and the list goes on and on.
1. What is a Mental Health Technician?
The job of a licensed Mental health technician requires a high level of skill set and because of that employers are seeking college graduates. Being a Mental health technician is a job of responsibility and the job needs to be performed carefully.
Being a Mental Health Technician is all about taking care of the patient on the mental side but, you are not gonna take care of the patient alone there will be a group of nurses and other mental healthcare professionals that will help you.
It’s pretty powerful because sometimes the things that you possibly don’t have as far as a skill set, but maybe the next person does, make the work easy for you. Woking as Mental health technician will teach you not to judge any people, how to talk with people calmly and politely, and figure out what the problem is.
Let’s dive deep into the job summary and get some deep knowledge about Mental Health Technicians.
1.1 Job Summary
The main duty of a mental health worker is to observe and take care of physically and mentally ill patients inside a hospital and mental health facility. For mental health facilities it could be acute to long-term stay just depends on what area you want to work in. You can even choose to work in residential mental health facilities if you don’t want to work in mental health facilities.
The main job is to observe the patient, provide direct patient care and report to the nurse if any changes occur to the patient’s condition. If the patient is DTS (Danger to Self ) then you need to talk to the nurse. If a patient is DTO ( Danger to Other ) then you need to tell the nurse.
Let’s say you are inside a unit and the patient’s not acting up and the patient might hurt themselves then you need to report to the nurse, and stop the patient from hurting himself.
There are a lot of spots and areas of development in this department. Being a Mental Health technician doesn’t mean that you are always going to be a Mental health technician, it just simply means that you are here and you are fulfilling a role that gives you the skill set to promote yourself forward.
1.2 What do You Have to do Inside the Unit?
Inside the unit as a mental health worker or mental health technician, you have a lot of duties. But you cannot do everything inside the mental health facility. Depending on your day the nurse will dedicate you to different duties.
Inside the unit, there will be Q15, Group, Hallway, Day room, and then Activity. So there’s a lot of stuff that you have to watch out for. There will be different duties for every technician.
Q15 means that every 15 minutes you have to keep track of the patient, know what they are doing and then every 15 minutes you come back to make sure the patient is there, the patient is fine, the patient is stable, and the patient is safe.
It is necessary because you don’t want to lose track of your patient and then something bad might be happening.
The hallway is pretty much like you standing in the hallway and making sure that the patient doesn’t go to each other room.
You have to take care of privacy and keep in check that the patient should not leave his room.
1.2.3 Day Room
In the day room, you need to make sure that the patient follows the protocol policy. Make sure there’s nothing violent happened. Make sure the patient is safe and also assist with the group activity.
You need to keep a check on that if the patient is creating violence in the room or not. You have to make sure that there should not be any violence produced by the patient.
1.2.4 Group Activity
Inside the mental health facility, there will be group activities.
Different hours will have group activities. So, for example for adults there will be group activity on drugs, alcohol, or any type of activity involving talking about their issues. There will be a therapist, there will be a group activity personnel.
You as a mental health worker will assist that person with the running group activity. Sometimes as a mental health worker, you also run a group yourself.
2. What are Job Requirements for Mental Health Technician?
For being a Mental Health Technician all you need is a high school diploma or something equivalent. You also need CPR for BLS for the healthcare provider.
You can get BLS through American Hearts Association ( AHA ). Make sure that you get the BLS for Healthcare Provider, that’s important. This CPR training is open, it takes only a day so it’s really easy to get. Most hospitals nowadays also want you to get Management of Assaultive Behaviour ( MAB ) Crisis Prevention Traning ( CPI ).
Usually, they require you to have it 60 days after you get higher. Most of the time you will get this training after you get hired by the hospital and they will provide you training. So. you’ll need to get it before you get applied for the job. You will get it after you get higher and then you can after you do all your paperwork and the hospital will train you for how they want you to act in the assaulted behavior situation inside the hospital.
You can also get some optional certificates from the American Association of Psychiatric Technicians for more handful experience.
3. Mental Health Technician Responsibilities
The number priority for a Mental health technician is to keep the patients safe inside the physical unit. You need to take care of the patient’s health. You will manage the patient’s behavior and prevent any escalation of violence inside the psych unit.
You have to take the vital signs and perform initial patient evaluations of the patient. You have to keep track of the patient behavioral changes.
For example, if you seek two who have a verbal argument then you should be separating them, and calm them down because if they came on arguing they might escalate into a violent conversation.
It’s really important to separate them or make them calm down because it can encourage others to produce violence in the psych unit.
When you do your MAB and CPI training, they will walk you through all these situations. They will make sure that you can handle all these situations before working as a Mental health technician. This will help you combat all these kinds of situations so it’s overall making you cope with all these things.
4. How Much You Can Make as a Mental Health Technician?
An average mental health worker’s job is around $15 an hour. You make around $15 an hour again this is based on your expertise and the area in which you work.
Most of the time you will probably get paid around $11 to $20 again that’s a big range. $11 to $20 an hour but as a mental health worker you work in different environments, and different settings.
Some mental specifically will require you to do more. If they require you to do more than the average mental health worker, then you get paid more and therefore you get the range between $11 to $20.
Your annual pay is probably going to be around $32,000 on average but the range-wise, it’s probably between $24,000 to $44,000 a year based on your experience and based on the area that your work.
5. Why choose this career?
This job is a really good entry-level job for mental health setting. If you are interested in working in the mental health specialty, this job is highly recommended.
As a mental health worker, you are one of the crucial parts of the mental health setting. You also have a front line talking to the patient, and interacting with the patient. Honestly like if you are new to a mental health setting and you want to get your foot in the door this is a good job.
If you love interacting with people, and taking care of them then this can be a good career for you. Moreover, it can be the best entry-level job for you to start your medical career.
6. What to Expect when you Start the Job?
Expect to be overwhelmed.
If you are going into a Mental Health Facility, there is gonna be a lot of patients. The senses are gonna be very high and they are gonna be needy.
It is not in a negative way it is how it is. The patient would have lost control and they can’t do anything on their own, so they will be looking for your guidance.
They can’t go to their laundry on their own, they can’t go to their meals on their own so when they look to you simply because none of it’s in their control anymore.
This can be very aggravating for people. So expect to be very very fast speed. Expect to learn when you are there and expect to help people but also help yourself because not only you will be learning about yourself but you are gonna learn a lot about your interest.
There will be things that you might not be able to handle so consider taking personal notes for them and try to figure out your triggers before they happen.
If it ever starts to get too difficult to learn then speak up don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everybody will be there, they will be supportive of you and understanding because they have also gone through it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, speak up about your struggles and take a break if you need to. Just take of yourself before you take care of other people. Be prepared for challenges. It is very challenging. It’s not all fun and games.
You have to be your guard because you never know if a patient’s having a bad day. They can even snap at you.
7. The Life of a Mental Health Tech
Mental illness is a disease just like any other illness. It’s just regular people with their issues that you and I have.
It’s not like the stereotypical type of things portrayed in Hollywood movies. It’s not something that a lot of people understand the dynamics of.
In the behavioral health unit, you would have to create a safe and healing environment. You are the safety of the patients and help them with things that they can’t do on their own. It’s a job of responsibilities and should be done with the heart and soul. You will be the only one who could cure the patient’s life and make him normal again.
Sometimes it could be taxing because you will see all these patients come in with all different problems, a lot will be depression and a lot of psychotic issues.
One of the most important things with being a Mental Health Technician is to understand that there is a person below some of those things that are showing up the behavior of mental illness.
This was the complete guide of a Mental health technician. If you think you are fit for being a Mental health technician then go for it. The Mental Health Technician job is respectable. Work hard and be the person you wanted to be. If you truly believe that you can handle all these things, then you can go for it.
After all, this job is a great entry-level job that can pay you well and at the same time will teach you different things for being a good person in your life.
If you want to read some more about the Mental health technician then check this out.