As the saying goes, every land has its own law. In the same manner, every field has its own set of requirements. In the field of mental health services, for instance, the workers have to posses good communication skills, have a good sense of maturity and judgement, and possess the capacity to remain calm when faced with stressful circumstances. Although this list is not exclusive, the skills and characteristics mentioned are crucial to the success of a mental health service professional in his or her work.
The human services fields is a relatively new field compared to other established fields like medicine, architecture, engineering and psychology. Up until the 1960s, the human services field was not an academic discipline on its own. Nonetheless, religious and civic groups have carried out charitable activities since the colonial times.
The main objective of the human services field is to meet human needs (Hardcastle, 2011). The focus here is on the prevention as well as the correction of problems. This ties in well with the vision of improving the quality of life in the service populations. Other subsidiary goals include improving service delivery systems by addressing the quality of the services provided as well as improving accessibility of those services to the service populations.
In the most recent times, the increase in mental health cases necessitates the need for skilled and competent support workers (France, Weikel, & Kish, 2005). The mental health workers are crucial in helping clients deal with their personal and social problems, and in supporting clients to participate in activities that either maintain or increase the quality of life. Other duties of social health workers include keeping in touch with the latest developments in the field by attending professional seminars and reading the latest research to keep themselves up to date with the current trends.
As a matter of fact, these duties require an individual who is equal to the task. Therefore, combinations of strong personal characteristics as well as skills are necessary in order to manage the tasks at hand. The most pertinent characteristic to a mental health human service worker is communication. Communication is essential in facilitating dialogues between the worker, the clients, and their families. The specific aspects of communication that are vital to the health worker include the ability to listen in a judgemental way and with empathy and understanding. It is essential to note that it is not everyone who possesses this skill, but the good thing is that it can be learned. Right now, there are colleges and other higher education institutions offering training in the human services field. This exposes the leaner to different theoretical and practical instances, moulding him or her into a competent mental health human services worker. However, the best means to impart communication, empathy and understanding is through exposing the learners to real-life experiences (Hardcastle, 2011). This gives them the requisite memory required in dealing with different life-scenarios. Other personal characteristics along the communication line that are important to the health service worker include emotional maturity and good judgement.
The importance of good judgement and emotional maturity cannot be overemphasized. Many are times when mental health workers encounter people with various mental challenges in their line of work, which calls for good judgement and emotional maturity (France, Weikel, & Kish, 2005). For instance, when the health service worker meets a client who displays the bipolar disorder, it is necessary to handle the client with care, and humility without necessary making the client feel unwanted because of his or her condition. Problem solving and decision making skills may also be useful in such scenarios. Emotional maturity is something that comes with experience, and cannot be fully grasped while undertaking learning in a college. On the contrary, people who get angry easily or those who are overly impatient should not be allowed anywhere near mental health human service (France, Weikel, & Kish, 2005). This is because such attributes would be incompatible with the work done in the human services field. For instance, short-tempered people would not work well with people with disabilities. Patience is one of the virtues needed in this work and short-tempered people would not learn to control their feelings while on the job.
Interest in helping people solve their interest is another personal characteristic that is vital to the mental health human service worker (Chui & Wilson, 2006). This characterise is crucial because it is challenging (for) the mental health service worker to stay on the job for long without a natural enthusiasm to help other people (Chui & Wilson, 2006). For instance, it would be hard for someone without the natural zeal to help other people to cope with a child affected by ADHD. In many cases, children affected by ADHD tend to be hyperactive and with significant attention problems. In such a scenario, the mental health worker would be hard-pressed to tolerate the child’s antics, unless he or she has the enthusiasm to help people. Some people are born natural helpers, and helping people is in their blood. For others, helping other people does not come naturally. Therefore, naturally-born helpers would be appropriate in serving the mental health services field.
The ability to work independently and in a team is another key attribute for a mental human health human service worker (Hardcastle, 2011). Some cases require the health worker to perform independently while other duties require teamwork. For instance, when the health worker is supporting a client to maintain or increase the quality of their life, working independently would be the best option. In another case, the health worker can be required to collaborate with other health providers in order to attain the best health outcomes for the client. Therefore, interplay of both characteristics is necessary for the health worker.
As I think about the people I have met in my life, my kindergarten school teacher would do well as a mental health human services worker. Mrs. White received each of her students well and made them feel comfortable around her. When it came to making all the children feel loved, she had the gift of a garb. Again, whenever a student had a small problem, my kindergarten teacher would attend to him or her without being judgemental. Helping the students was something that came naturally to her. In addition, the teacher would show empathy and good understanding when attending to the students. The combination of all these personal characteristics makes Mrs. White the most obvious choice for a mental human health services work.
In conclusion, the field of mental health human services is one that requires individuals with patience, a sense of empathy and the natural instinct to help other people. Other key personal characteristics include good communication skills and the ability to work independently and in teams. Nonetheless, not all the skills are inborn, and some of them can be learned. For the best results, it is important to expose such learners to real-life condition in order to mould them into competent mental health human service workers. However, people who are quick in temper should not be hired to perform such work.
Chui, W. H., & Wilson, J. (2006). Social work and human services best practice. Sydney: Federation Press.
France, K., Weikel, K., & Kish, M. (2005). Helping skills for human service workers: Building relationships and encouraging productive change. Springfield, IL : Charles C Thomas Publisher.
Hardcastle, D. A. (2011). Community practice: Theories and skills for social workers. New York, NY : Oxford University Press.