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What are the most important skills for a Mental Health Worker?

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Amy’s Answer

The most important skills for a health care worker are the following:

1. Empathy! You have to be able to see the issues/problems through your client's eyes in order to understand his/her pain/anxiety.
2. Listen! You have to listen to your client and let him/her speak without interruption. Your client wants you to "hear" him/her.
3. Teach! Teaching coping skills is so helpful to arm your client with skills to use when needed.
4. Encourage! Encourage your client to be his/her best and do what he/she wants to do but is afraid to do it.
5. Be Educated! Know how differences in gender, race, sexual identity, socioeconomics, etc. affect different groups in our society.
6. Care! Be caring and supportive, because you may be the only person who is in your client's corner.

I love being a mental health care worker!

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Debbie Yoro’s Answer

A quick summary of the skills that I am continuing to develop as a mental health therapist:
1. To be self aware (especially about our own emotions)
2. To have Emotional regulation
3. Listening skills, reflection and validation
4. Mindfulness skills (mental flexibility too!)
5. To be able to find balance in your life and know when a break is needed.
6. Self Compassion
These Resiliency Skills (which includes the above) help prevent burnout.

Debbie Yoro recommends the following next steps:

Read books about building resiliency
Have a daily mindfulness practice
Start learning about emotional regulation
Maintain and cultivate friendships

Thank you so much for your answer and it is certainly important to find a balance in life , I will try to do that. thanks again!! :)) Amanpreet K.

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Deborah D.’s Answer

Be prepared to be recognized! Long before today's crisis health situation, health care workers have always been heroes. You may at times feel like one; but let's not get distracted.
I worked for many years in an inner city acute care facility. I was an office manager in both Physical Therapy, and Behavioral Health. The interconnections between these two departments should be considered in evaluating the interpersonal skills needed to treat challenged patients. I wish I could tell you how many times, (years later), I would see the same patients I had treated in Physical Therapy, now being treated in Behavioral Health, The body can heal, but often the mind just can't adapt to the "New Normal"
My best advice is empathetic communication.
It is also very important to stay grounded and have a disciplined self care routine.

Deborah D. recommends the following next steps:

Volunteer at a hospital.

Thank you so much for your answer and sharing your own experience!! Take care :)) Amanpreet K.

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Hoang’s Answer

Hello Amanpreet

Great question! It sounds as if you are exploring career options in the helping profession.

Healthcare professionals are often the givers, they are the friends you often go to for advice. They are often valued by their friends as "great listeners". Often times, healthcare workers have an innate tendency to serve and look out for other people and thus are highly valued in society. They often show a strong level of emotional intelligence and maturity as these people often spend most of their time improving the lives of those around them. From my perspective, some important characteristics of mental health professionals include strong empathy skills, ability to tolerate ambiguity, and emotional intelligence (being in tune with others' emotions)

Hoang recommends the following next steps:

Active Listening
Social Perceptiveness
Service Orientation
Speaking
Critical Thinking

Thank you much for a very thorough response!! Amanpreet K.

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Tequila’s Answer

Hello Amanpreet. I think the most important skills include being a discerning listener, learning not to internalizing others' issues and being able not to judge others for not thinking like yourself. Your education will help support you in the field. Mental Health Workers are in so much demand. Life's stressors seem to get to people in ways that we never experienced. The culture has changed and seeking help is an accepted outlet to dealing with life's stressors/challenges. Good luck if you decide this is the career path you decide for yourself.

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