Mental Health Workers, also called Psychiatric Technicians, provide basic care, therapy and assistance to patients with mental illness or developmental disabilities. Mental Health Workers provide assistance with daily activities, monitor their patients’ conditions and assist in administering therapeutic care. They usually work under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse as part of a nursing team. Mental Health Workers generally work in psychiatric hospitals, and residential mental health facilities.

 Mental Health Worker Duties and Responsibilities 

To accomplish their primary goal of providing care and therapy to those suffering from mental illness, Mental Health Workers perform many tasks.

Develop Treatment Plans

Mental Health Workers intake new patients and collaborate with other staff members to identify the issues patients are facing. They work together to develop treatment plans and strategies to best meet patient needs.

Provide Patient Care and Crisis Intervention

Mental Health Workers provide daily care and support to patients. They provide medications and other treatments to patients, under the instructions of doctors or nurses. They assist patients with daily activities, including eating, bathing and movement. Mental Health Workers must also be prepared to intervene in crisis situations.

Monitor Patients

The Mental Health Worker must constantly supervise patients to ensure their safety and well-being. They observe patient behavior and keep meticulous records, reporting any changes in behavior or health to medical staff.

Lead Therapy Sessions

Mental Health Workers plan and lead individual, family, couples, or group therapy to address patient issues. They also develop and lead focused group activities.


Mental Health Worker Skills

Flexible and intuitive, a successful Mental Health Worker is both patient and firm. They can maintain composure in uncertain situations, and work well as part of a team to provide compassionate care. In addition to these general skills and personality traits, employers are looking for Mental Health Worker candidates with the following skills.

Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Mental Health Workers with these core skills. If you want to work as a Mental Health Worker, focus on the following.

  • Strong written and verbal communication skill
  • Excellent interpersonal skills to relate effectively with co-workers and patients
  • Ability to problem solve and de-escalate crisis situations
  • Experience with Individual, family, and group therapy practice
  • Previous psychiatric care experience
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule
  • Working knowledge of clinical diagnoses for mental health population
  • Computer literacy and ability to conduct data entry