Medical and mental health social work is a specialization in the field that focuses on helping people who suffer from a variety of different disorders and impairments. Specific training is required to work in this field, including a designated number of clinical supervision hours as well as other requirements determined by the state in which you want to practice. This area of social work is ideal for those who have a strong passion for helping others improve their lives and to be healthier.
Distance learning has become more mainstream as technology improves and the need for a more convenient format of education grows. More and more accredited schools now make online delivery of curriculum an options to working professionals or students with family or personal commitments. These schools include Ashford University, Capella University, Purdue University, the University of Southern California, and Walden University.
Job Duties of a Medical and Mental Health Social Worker
If you’re interested in working in this area of social work, you can expect to handle a variety of different job duties. Those job duties will be determined by the setting in which you work and the state in which you live. You’ll most likely need specific certification to qualify for employment. According to O*Net, a mental health counselor and/or social worker typically performs the following duties:
- Maintain confidentiality of records relating to clients’ treatment.
- Encourage clients to express their feelings and discuss what is happening in their lives, helping them to develop insight into themselves or their relationships.
- Collect information about clients through interviews, observation, or tests.
- Assess patients for risk of suicide attempts.
- Fill out and maintain client-related paperwork, including federal- and state-mandated forms, client diagnostic records, and progress notes.
- Prepare and maintain all required treatment records and reports.
- Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
- Guide clients in the development of skills or strategies for dealing with their problems.
- Perform crisis interventions with clients.
- Develop and implement treatment plans based on clinical experience and knowledge.
Degree Requirements for Medical and Mental Health Social Work
Each program will have its own set of requirements, but typically, you can expect to fulfill a number of credit hours in social work with specialization credits in medical and mental health social work. Bachelor and master degree programs are available in this field, and depending on your career goals, both programs are uniquely designed to prepare you for employment. Again, it’s important to keep in mind that each state has its own certification requirements so verify what qualifications you need in the state in which you wish to work.