What does a mental health aide do?
Mental health aides provide assistance in the care of patients suffering from mental health issues. They perform a variety of duties such as helping patients with eating, hygiene, dressing, and physical activities. They must monitor the physical and mental condition of their patients, note their observations, and report abnormal activities to the appropriate staff. They also complete basic housekeeping duties such as serving meals, making beds, and cleaning rooms. Most mental health aides work in mental health facilities, but some provide assistance in the homes of patients
What kind of training does a mental health aide need?
Mental health aides typically need at least a high school diploma or GED, but many employers prefer applicants with related work experience. Some mental health aides have degrees in mental health, psychology, or other related field. Many aspiring mental health aides complete internships or volunteer experiences to gain practical experience in the field. Many employers provide some on the job training to enable new mental health aides to learn the necessary policies and procedures. New aides often shadow experienced workers and complete simple tasks until they acquire the necessary skills and experience. Mental health aides complete additional training as needed throughout their careers to keep their skills current and stay up to date with developments in the field.
What are the prospects for a career as a mental health aide?
Employment of mental health aides is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing and aging population and increased demand for mental health services will drive job growth.
Job prospects should be excellent especially for mental health aides with sufficient work experience and advanced training. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace mental health aides that leave the occupation.
How much do mental health aides make?
As of March 2010, the average annual salary for mental health aides is $23,000; average annual mental health aide salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a mental health aide is an excellent choice for individuals with a passion for helping a variety of people suffering from mental health issues. Mental health aides must have a solid understanding of the policies and procedures related to many different mental health services. Patience, understanding, critical thinking, and good problem solving are essential traits. Mental health aides must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to interact with a variety of mental health patients. They must be quick on their feet and able to handle stressful situations.