News • 06 Dec 2023

How to become a mental health support worker

A mental health support worker holding an umbrella over a client outside in the rain.

Interested in a career as a mental health support worker?

A career as a mental health support worker can bring many benefits to people of all ages.

It’s no wonder that people choose this career path both early in life as well as those wanting a career change further down the track.

Life as a mental health support worker can be highly rewarding when helping vulnerable people succeed in their own life goals.

Whether it’s learning to ride a horse, or simply venturing outside for the first time in years, helping people to achieve something important to them (and celebrating with them when they do) is something very special.

Furthermore, the job is both varied and flexible, allowing you to work casually around family life or study, and choose hours that work for you.

“I find support work very rewarding. It’s nice knowing that I make direct difference in people’s lives. I’ve learnt a lot about the health industry, in particular mental health, and myself. For the most part, it often doesn’t feel like work. Being able to take clients bowling, to see a movie, to pass the football in the park is fun and engaging. I would highly recommend this line of work for anyone looking to move into the health industry.” – Douglas, an Open Minds Mental Health Support Worker based in Indooroopilly.

What does a mental health support worker do?

A mental health support worker helps people with mental illness to navigate their day-to-day life and to reach their goals.

This can include assisting them with:

  • Cooking and food preparation
  • Budgeting and planning
  • Catching public transport
  • Going out into the community
  • Visiting family and friends
  • Personal care
  • Doctor / GP appointments

A mental health support worker undertakes similar work to that of a disability support worker but works primarily with people who have mental illnesses or psychosocial disabilities.

When a person is living with a mental illness they require support and assistance to live a life of purpose.

How much do mental health support workers earn?

Wages for mental health support workers can vary depending on location, level of experience, whether you’re a casual or permanent employee, and complexity of the work involved.

Casual employees earn more per hour and there is also the option to work nights and weekends and be paid a higher hourly rate.

Open Minds is a not-for-profit organisation so there is an opportunity to salary package an additional $16,900 of tax-free income which increases take-home pay.

How to be a good mental health support worker?

Typically, a successful mental health support worker is trustworthy, patient, and compassionate.

Most clients report that a good mental health support worker is someone who understands them and cares.

This means adopting a person-centred approach by listening to a client’s wants and needs and supporting them accordingly in a friendly and positive way.

Reliability is important, such as arriving on time and writing up case notes following a shift is another important part of the job, as it helps to keep the rest of the team informed of the latest developments.

What is required to become a mental health support worker?

Completing a Certificate III in Individual Support prepares individuals to work with vulnerable people and follow individualised plans to provide person-centred support.

However, even without any qualification, you can still be considered for a role as a mental health support worker.

Other requirements include:

  • A current open driver’s license
  • Up to date COVID vaccinations
  • NDIS Workers Screening Clearance and Blue Card (this can be applied for following a successful interview)
  • NDIS Workers Orientation Certificate (this can be completed following a successful interview)

Another way to begin a career as a mental health support worker is to attend a conference such as the Direct Support Worker’s Conference to get practical guidance and network with like-minded people.

The benefits of working at Open Minds

Open Minds is a mental health service provider with over 110 years of history supporting Queenslanders.

Having supported the first NDIS participant in Queensland, Open Minds has a rich history in the community.

We provide support to hundreds of clients across dozens of locations across Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

The benefits of working for us as a mental health support worker include:

  • Job security working for a well-established provider with a rich history
  • Learn from experienced people – some of our team members have been with us for over 20 years
  • Flexible hours and both casual and permanent positions available
  • A rewarding a fun career
  • No prior qualifications required

We are always on the look out for new talent to join our team. If you’re interested in a role as a mental health support worker? Take a look at the current vacancies at Open Minds and apply

Related articles

Open Minds celebrates one year of Lismore Head to Health

22 Feb 2024

Open Minds has celebrated the first birthday of Lismore Head to Health and its support for the ...

Read More
Open Minds celebrates one year of Lismore Head to Health

Mark finds a place to call home

21 Feb 2024

Mark had been sleeping rough for four months when he was informed of possible accommodation during a ...

Read More
Mark finds a place to call home