$39.42 to $52.36 per hour
Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA)
Social work, psychology, psychiatric nursing, nursing, or occupational therapy degree
Mental health therapists provide services to clients with mental health or addiction issues. These include assessment, provisional diagnosis, treatment, crisis intervention, clinical consultation, case management, education and referrals. Mental health therapists can be social workers, psychologists, registered nurses, registered psychiatric nurses or occupational therapists. They work with other health care professionals, clients and families to gather assessment data, which informs a provisional diagnosis. Then, they develop, implement, monitor and evaluate treatment plans in consultation with the client, treatment team and family, as appropriate.
Mental health therapists perform crisis intervention and outreach stabilization services when clients experience a crisis or when they require more intensive short-term monitoring. Mental health therapists liaise with and provide referrals to appropriate agencies and services, as well as advocate for clients. They also educate, support and work with the families of their clients as necessary.
Mental health therapists participate in mental health promotion activities and develop training programs and workshops for staff, service providers, clients, their families and community agencies. They contribute to establishing and maintaining mental health and addictions community resources. Part of this work includes raising awareness of mental health and addictions in the community to help reduce the stigma associated with these illnesses. In addition, they may provide work direction and leadership to other members of the treatment team.
Mental health therapists work in a variety of facilities including hospitals, community health centres and mental health clinics. They may work independently with their clients and family members. Mental health therapists also collaborate with the interprofessional health care team that includes other therapists, nurses, physicians, administrative staff and managers.
Mental health therapists may work full-time or part-time hours or on a call-in (casual) basis. They can apply for positions that are permanent, temporary or casual depending on department and facility needs. Shift schedules are generally comprised of weekday shifts, but may also include weekends, holidays, evenings, nights and on-call duty.
The work of mental health therapists often requires sitting and standing for long periods of time, such as during sessions with clients or while doing computer work. They may be required to travel during all-weather conditions and some positions require a driver's license. In addition, some mental health therapists interact with clients who have behavioural issues. At times, they may work in challenging and stressful circumstances, such as in a crisis situation.