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What Personality Traits Make a Successful Behavioral Health Assistant?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Mental illness is rampant in the United States.

Shockingly, around 1 in 5 American adults experience mental illness in any given year. That’s 20% of the entire population suffering from a life-altering disease.

There’s never been a greater need for passionate, caring people to enter the mental health profession. Are you thinking about doing exactly that?

Well, mental health technician roles provide a fantastic way to get started in the field.

This diverse and rewarding position plays a direct part in supporting individuals with mental illness. What’s more, the wide range of experience you acquire means it’s a perfect foundation for anybody hoping to progress in the mental health field.

Are you interested in applying for the job and wonder if you have what it takes?

Read on to discover the personality traits that help people excel in this role.

1. Empathic

The ability to empathize is key to success in the world of mental health.

It’s about being able to step into someone’s shoes and understand how they feel. Not to be confused with sympathy, empathy goes beyond a pitiful and considerate response.

Instead, it demands a willingness to try and enter into someone’s experience with them.

Understanding the experience of someone who’s mentally ill isn’t easy. You may never have been through anything similar, making it hard to truly comprehend.

Being empathetic helps you narrow the gap, bringing you closer to how they must be feeling.

Been through a mental illness yourself? It’ll mean you’re more able to empathize effectively on the job. Similarly, this post helps explain why recovered addicts make great counselors.

2. Caring and Compassionate

Mental illness is difficult to contend with.

Anybody who has gone through it can vouch for that. Regardless of the particular diagnosis, it’s characterized by a profound impact on daily life, and it almost always entails some form of suffering.

People who enter mental health facilities require a caring personality and compassion. A natural desire to alleviate peoples’ pain will inevitably help you become an effective behavioral health assistant.

3. Cool-Headed

The field of mental health isn’t easy.

Emotions run high; in a veritable tumult of challenging high emotions, any number of eventualities can happen.

Service users get angry and upset. Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for staff members to take the heat. Emergencies may occur as well. After all, self-harm and suicidal tendencies are a possibility.

Remaining cool-headed and thinking clearly in this environment is an undeniable benefit. However, it’s also something that comes with time and experience.

4. Good-Listener

The ability to listen goes hand in hand with empathy.

Truly hearing what someone is saying is the only means of truly understanding them.

Sometimes, feeling listened to and understood can instantly relieve the burden of illness. A problem shared is a problem halved, right? Being able to speak openly and be heard without judgment is a liberating experience.

Anybody willing and able to listen will go a long way as a behavioral health assistant.

5. Hard-Working

Anybody in the mental health field must be hard-working by nature.

There’s always too much to do and not enough time (or staff) to do it.

Your responsibilities as a technician will vary considerably. The team around you will benefit from having a conscientious, self-starting person to fulfill the role.

A conscientious and committed attitude will make you a great addition to the team. It’s about seeing a problem and dealing with it, giving your all in any given task, and working to learn and improve as much as possible.

6. Versatile

As we just mentioned, you’ll be doing a wide range of tasks as a technician.

Of course, your exact role will change depending on the facility you work at. Regardless of where you are, expect no two days to be the same.

You could be:

  • Leading group counseling sessions.
  • Administering medication.
  • Facilitating a psycho-educational session.
  • Preparing and/or serving meals.
  • Supporting service users with self-care.
  • Simply being a presence on the ward and interacting with service users.

As you can see, you’ll be thrown into a wide selection of jobs. Being versatile and adaptable will be an inherent help.  

7. Resilient

Resilience is another trait that will help you enjoy a long career in mental health.

As we noted earlier, it isn’t an easy career to enter into. Indeed, between 21% and 61% of practitioners will experience signs of burnout.

It can be stressful, intense, emotional, and hard work all around. You’ll experience people suffering and be responsible for trying to help. You may feel thrust in at the deep end, out of your depth, and uncertain of yourself.

As a naturally empathic person, it’s easy to take on the pain and suffering of service users. None of that is particularly enjoyable. Thankfully, though, there are a huge number of rewards to the profession as well.

Nonetheless, being a strong and resilient person will help you weather the trials and tribulations of the experience.

8. Open-Minded

Are you an open-minded person?

Are you willing and able to encounter unexpected and unexplained (and sometimes bizarre) behavior and opinions without judgment?

It’s good news if you can.

Mental health professionals reside in a world that most people never see. They witness first-hand the challenges, struggles, and reality of individuals in the throes of debilitating mental illness.

You’ll almost certainly come across things that startle, surprise, and test you.

Being open-minded to the experience of others is an enviable positive trait to possess. It’ll stand you in good stead as a new behavioral health assistant.  

Final Thoughts on Behavioral Health Assistant Personality Traits

Mental illness is widespread in the United States.

Tens of millions of people around the country suffer from it every single year.

Of course, specific diagnoses and levels of ill-health will vary. However, it’s always a time of hardship and difficulty. The people who work to care for ill individuals make all the difference.

They apply themselves to a challenging role in the bid to be a positive source of support.

With rates of mental illness higher than ever, there’s never been a greater demand for diligent and caring people entering the field.

The behavioral health assistant role is a great entryway into the mental health field. Hopefully, this post will help you realize if your personality is a good match for the position.

Ready for the next step of doing some training for the role? Contact us today to see how we can be of assistance.

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Anthony Al Asadi
Anthony Al Asadi
1 year ago

This information has helped me on my first day on the job . It helped me relax and stay calm before I headed out to the facility.

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