Mental health worker

What they do

Mental health workers are responsible for providing support and counselling services to individuals and families experiencing mental health issues. They provide early intervention strategies, support and advocacy by engaging people with mental illness in community participation, prevention of relapse and promotion of recovery through residential rehabilitation and clinical programs.

There are a range of different health care professionals offering mental health support, including psychologists, clinical psychologists, mental health nurses, general practitioners and social workers who also provide mental health related support in Western Australia.

Working conditions

Mental health workers may be required to work evenings, weekends or rostered shifts. They may experience stress due to interacting with clients in crisis. They also need to be on the lookout for any safety hazards that may pose risks to themselves, staff and their clients.  Positions are usually available in country and metropolitan locations.

Tools and technologies

Mental health workers use standard office equipment, including computers, faxes and photocopiers.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a mental health worker, you usually need to gain a qualification in mental health or community services.

The Certificate IV in Mental Health, Certificate IV in Community Services and the Diploma of Mental Health are offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.

You can also undertake a traineeship in mental health work. The traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

If working with children in this occupation in Western Australia, you must obtain a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Communities.  You may also require a National Police Certificate from the Australian Federal Police.