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Mental Health Worker

Mental health workers help people deal with personal and social problems. They teach related skills and provide information and support.

  • Avg. Salary $35,126.00
  • Avg. Wage $21.25
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Community Support Worker

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Community and Social Service Workers (4212) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Community and Social Service Workers (E212) 
  • 2011 NOC: Social and community service workers (4212) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

27%
27%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Mental Health Worker is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Community and Social Service Workers
SOCIAL

Interest in consulting with social assistance recipients and pensioners to advise and aid them in locating and utitizing a variety of community resources; in referring clients to other social services; in counselling clients living in group homes and halfway houses and assisting in pre-release and release planning; in providing crisis intervention and emergency-shelter services; and in co-ordinating volunteer activities of community and social services organizations

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to participate in the selection and admission of clients to appropriate programs; to assess clients' relevant skill strengths and deficits; and in maintaining contact with other social service agencies and health care providers involved with clients to provide information and obtain feedback on clients' overall progress

innovative

Interest in assisting clients to sort out options and develop plans of action, and in implementing and organizing the delivery of life-skills workshops, substance-abuse treatment programs, behaviour management programs, youth services programs and other community and social service programs under the supervision of social workers and health care professionals

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Mental health workers work with a variety of clients one-on-one or in groups. Duties vary from one job to another. In general, mental health workers:

  • develop, organize, and help deliver mental health promotion and prevention programs
  • assess client needs, identify problems, and work with interdisciplinary teams to develop and deliver treatment plans
  • work closely with clients’ families and health care providers (such as physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists)
  • act as a client advocate and co-ordinate required services
  • provide a basic assessment of clients’ and families’ social and economic environments
  • act as resources for families, community professionals and other members of the care team
  • provide early intervention and appropriate referral services
  • liaise with and refer clients to appropriate government and community agencies (to provide support for clients and their families)
  • help clients develop skills and strategies for dealing with their problems
  • help people participate in activities that maintain or increase their quality of life
  • help clients manage medications
  • maintain confidential client records
  • address mental health issues in the community at large
  • keep up to date with new developments in their field by:
    • reading professional literature
    • attending courses and seminars
    • establishing and maintaining contact with other social agencies.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Some mental health workers work a standard workweek in an office setting. Others do shift work that includes evenings and weekends.

This work can be stressful. Mental health workers may have to deal with aggression or other behavioural issues.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Mental health workers need to possess:

  • listening, speaking, and writing skills
  • empathy and understanding
  • emotional maturity and good judgment
  • the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • a positive, flexible attitude
  • problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • an interest in helping people resolve problems
  • the ability to keep client relationships professional
  • the creativity to develop new programs or ways of doing things
  • the ability to work alone and as part of a team
  • interpersonal skills.

They should enjoy:

  • helping others
  • compiling information
  • maintaining contact with other agencies
  • solving problems creatively.
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Academic backgrounds vary greatly among mental health workers. Most have some form of post-secondary education in a discipline related to mental health. For example, they may have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, psychology, social work, occupational therapy, or recreation therapy. See related occupational profiles for a list of educational programs.

Cultural awareness is a definite asset. This includes the ability to speak one or more languages other than English, including First Nations languages.

Mental health workers may have to be registered, certified, or accredited by their professional association before working in the mental health field.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Assiniboine Community College - Brandon

Cambrooks College - Downtown Campus

Canford Institute of Technology

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton West

CLI College of Business Health & Technology - Calgary

CLI College of Business, Health and Technology - Edmonton North

Evergreen College - Calgary

Kelowna College of Professional Counselling

Lakeland College

Mount Royal University

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Reeves College - Calgary North

Reeves College - Edmonton

Reeves College - Lethbridge

Reeves College - Lloydminster

Robertson College - Calgary NW

Robertson College - Calgary SE

Robertson College - Edmonton

The Excel Academy

Vancouver College of Counsellor Training - Vancouver

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Mental health workers work in:

  • health care and rehabilitation clinics and hospitals
  • family and community services agencies (agencies that operate group homes and day programs)
  • community mental health clinics
  • seniors’ lodges, assisted living facilities, and continuing care facilities
  • private practices
  • school boards
  • correctional facilities.

Prospects for advancement depend on the size and nature of the employing organization. They also depend on the mental health worker’s qualifications.

Mental health workers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4212: Social and community service workers. In Alberta, 76% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the E212: Community and Social Service Workers occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.9% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 354 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Earnings for mental health workers vary a lot. Factors include job location, type of employer, position duties, and worker qualifications.

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website

Social and community service workers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $13.05 $27.84 $18.68 $17.77
Overall $14.68 $30.20 $21.25 $21.00
Top $17.88 $35.33 $24.46 $22.99

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
Educational Services
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALL INDUSTRIES
Information, Culture, Recreation
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

66%
66%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

27%
27%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

5%
5%

Vacancy Rate

1%
Related High School Subjects
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Human and Social Services
  • Languages (other than English)
  • Science
    • Biology
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2018

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2018. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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