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The role of a Mental Health Worker and why it’s so important

by Chloe Baird

There’s no doubt that the world has changed dramatically since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. People all across the world have been affected in many different ways.

That’s why it’s so important to do your best to look after your mental health. And the important role that Mental Health Workers play is now more important than ever.

Why you should make your mental health a priority

Almost half of all Australians aged 16-85 will experience mental illness during their life. Some of the most common conditions are anxiety, affective disorders such as depression, and substance use disorders.

Looking after your mental health is important because it can affect many other aspects of your life. Promoting good mental health is important in fostering strong relationships with people, being able to adapt to changes, coping with difficult situations and stress and being productive in areas of your life like work or study.

If you’ve been feeling anxious or depressed lately, the most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone.

How can I look after my mental health?

A recent paper published by the Black Dog Institute said this:

Common consequences of disease outbreaks include anxiety and panic, depression, anger, confusion and uncertainty, and financial stress, with estimates of between 25% to 33% of the community experiencing high levels of worry and anxiety during similar pandemics.”

Staying positive and seeing the good in bad situations can sometimes be really hard—more so during times of crisis. While OC doesn’t claim to provide you with definitive solutions to improve your mental health, here are a few small ways that might be able to help you look after your own mental wellbeing.

Here are 6 ways to look after your mental health:

1. Look after your body

Taking care of your body physically by exercising and eating healthily can have a positive effect on your mental health. Even going for a short walk in the mornings or afternoons can work wonders for your mental health.

2. Practice mindfulness

Practising mindfulness or meditation can help you to relax and to be present in the moment.

3. Take a break

Ongoing, high levels of stress can have serious side effects for your body and your mental health. What are some things you enjoy doing that help you to relax? Reading a book, painting, doing yoga, gardening, listening to music or simply enjoying a quiet cuppa are ways that might help you to wind down.

Finding different ways to unwind, relax and stay physically healthy are all things you can do to care for your mental health.

4. Spend time with loved ones

Even if you can’t see someone physically, give them a phone call or schedule a video chat to catch up with your friends and family.

5. Get a good night’s sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for good physical and mental health. Serious sleep deprivation can lead to an increased risk of developing certain mental illnesses.

6. Talk to a professional Mental Health Worker

There is, unfortunately, some stigma still attached to mental health. And almost two-thirds of Australians living with mental illness do not seek help. But there is help out there in a variety of different mediums. Some services you can connect with are:

Why Mental Health Workers are important in Australia

Mental Health Workers in Australia have a critical role to play, and the importance of their work can’t be underestimated.

While there are a range of different techniques you can use to help make sure you’re looking after your mental health, sometimes it really helps to speak with a professional.

Mental illness has become increasingly prevalent in Australia. The numbers of adult Australians experiencing psychological distress or reporting a mental or behavioural condition are increasing year on year. Now more than ever, it’s important that we have enough qualified, trained professionals working in the mental health sector to respond to this demand.

Mental Health Workers can work with all different people of all different ages.

What does a Mental Health Worker do?

A Mental Health Worker’s primary role is to support and help people living with mental illness, substance use disorders, and other social problems.

There are many different roles available for people working in the mental health sector. Some of these roles are:

  • Community Rehabilitation Worker
  • Case Worker
  • Community Support Worker
  • Mental Health Outreach Worker
  • Drug and Alcohol Worker
  • Psychologist
  • Mental Health Nurse

Working in the mental health sector can be hugely rewarding

As we’ve already discussed, looking after your mental wellbeing is supremely important. But to keep your mental health in tip-top shape, it pays to sometimes talk to a professional.

If you’re passionate about helping people make positive changes in their lives and want to make a difference in the world, a career in mental health could be perfect for you. While some days will be harder than others, a career as a Mental Health Worker can also be rewarding, making those tough days worthwhile.  

What qualification do you need to work in mental health?

If you’re interested in following a career path in the mental health sector, then there are a few ways you can go about this.

Open Colleges offers online courses that specialise in mental health. The CHC43315 Certificate IV in Mental Health and the CHC43215 Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs can both help you find employment in the mental health sector. These courses also make a great starting point if you’re looking to complete further study in the future.

Open Colleges’ courses are conducted online, which means you can study whenever and wherever it’s convenient for you. But to ensure that you also get the real-world, hands-on experience you need, our courses also include work placement as part of your training.

Are you considering a rewarding career in mental health? Find out more about our online mental health courses and enrol today.

And remember, help is available. If you feel like you need to talk to someone about your mental health, there are a number of services you can connect with, such as Lifeline. You can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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