Behavioral health and mental health are just as important as our physical health. When one of those aspects of our health is disturbed, the others are often impacted negatively.
Behavioral health technicians have professional skills to help their clients improve their lives’ behavioral and emotional facets. Within health care or assisted living settings, these professionals provide the knowledge, support, and counseling needed to help residents enjoy the highest quality of care. Once the medical team has decided on a treatment plan, it is the job of a behavioral health technician to carry out that plan. The overarching goal of behavioral health services is to help clients develop and sustain habits that support their overall health.
What Does a Behavioral Health Technician do?
The daily work of behavioral health technicians can vary widely, depending on the individual, their treatment plan, and their environment.
Within the context of assisted living facilities, assisting residents with the transition from living independently is one essential part of the job. While mood disorders are not necessarily a part of aging, significant changes can lead to mental health problems, including depression. Moving into an assisted living community is a big step for many people: it marks the beginning of the last part of their life. Realizing that they may not have much more time can profoundly impact any person.
Add to that the fact that any move disturbs habits such as healthy eating or regular exercise, and it becomes clear how critical behavioral health support is at this stage. In this scenario, behavioral health technicians make it easier for their clients to re-establish positive habits.
Behavioral health professionals may be encouraging their clients to take a walk around their new community and meet other people. On the other hand, they may offer counseling services on selected issues. Moreover, a behavioral health technician might help with practical tasks such as encouraging regular mealtimes.
Because the services offered by behavioral health technicians are so diverse, this career path can be incredibly varied. Much depends on the environment and the patient’s or client’s needs.
How to Become a Behavioral Health Technician?
Several career paths lead toward becoming a behavioral health technician. Some professionals hold a postsecondary certificate, while others complete a two-year degree. One of the most popular routes into this field is a bachelor’s degree in behavioral health science. This four-year degree offers graduates more thorough preparation for a long-term career.
Professionals working in settings like assisted living facilities may also benefit from on-the-job training. Based on their experience and previous healthcare education, additional training allows existing teams to work more efficiently with the facility’s community.
With additional training, assisted living staff will find it easier to spot the early warning signs of behavioral health issues. These signs may include a refusal to socialize or a sudden decline in healthy, regular eating habits. Perhaps a previously active person suddenly refuses to leave their home. All these signals may point toward an underlying behavioral health issue.
In most cases, being a behavioral health technician involves theoretical and practical training. Working within an assisted living setting is varied, but it is also a crisis-resistant profession. As the baby boomer generation is starting to retire, more people above the age of 65 are likely to move into assisted living.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that one in five adults over 55 suffer from mental health concerns. Those conditions can have a knock-on effect on residents’ physical health. On the other hand, positive behaviors can prevent these problems from becoming more serious.
Behavioral health technicians have the power to dramatically improve the quality of care offered by an assisted living facility. However, hiring new staff may not be suitable for all communities. Instead, consider joining forces with a proven partner like TrueCare™. Our behavioral health program for assisted living facilities can support your team with a complete schedule, temporary assistance, or staff training.
The TrueCare Behavioral Health platform offers a comprehensive, in-person, Medicare-accepted program—building an environment where residents can grow stronger emotionally and help build a healthier community.