Psychiatric Social Worker

Help determine the best treatment for people with mental illness.
picture of Psychiatric Social Worker

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$34,000 – $97,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Psychiatric Social Workers do?

Anger, sadness, anxiety—these are common emotions we all deal with at some point in our lives. But mental or emotional problems and disorders can overwhelm a person until they can no longer function normally. In this case, professional help may be necessary, and a Psychiatric Social Worker may just be the right person to provide it. As a Psychiatric Social Worker, you help people overcome their disorders and learn how to function in society again.

The main role of a Psychiatric Social Worker mirrors that of a Psychiatrist. You give counseling to a range of individuals, from patients in a psychiatric ward to prisoners in jail. Talk therapy is a common method of working through a patient’s unwanted emotions to find the root of their problems.

After really getting to know your patient, you determine the best course of action for rehabilitation. In the case of a patient with severe depression, it may take a combination of talk therapy and medication to correct a chemical imbalance. Someone with an anxiety disorder may need medication, or may be able to overcome their fears as you walk them through the process.

Once the person is ready to leave the facility, you help them get back on their feet. Planning out a career path or starting a new hobby are both excellent ways for a person to figure out what they want out of life. As they continue to improve, you follow up with them to reinforce the coping techniques you’ve taught them and to monitor their progress. With you cheering them on, patients can overcome any troubles they may face.

Should I be a Psychiatric Social Worker?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.

  • Also known as: CSBG/Outreach Social Worker, Psychiatric Social Worker Supervisor

    How to Become a
    Psychiatric Social Worker

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