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  • Zach Johnson

What Do Health Techs Really Do? 📽

When your average person thinks of a "psych ward", they probably imagine something based on pop culture and the news, but they might be surprised by actual day-to-day operations of a modern mental health facility. This awesome video "The Life of a Psychiatric Technician" takes us into a mental health hospital, and shows the real people who work and get treated there.

A video thumbnail for "The Life of a Psychiatric Technician"

The video tells us, "Mental illness is a sickness, just like any other sickness." This important statement challenges the misguided ideas society often has about mental health. It reminds us that those dealing with mental health problems are "just regular people with their issues," which means they have problems that many of us might face in our lives.

One type of caregiver in a mental health hospital is a psychiatric technician (sometimes called “psych tech”, “health tech”, “behavioral health tech”, or simply “tech”). Psych techs create a safe and helpful space within the mental health hospital. They are the "eyes and ears on the floor," which means they're the first to see patient needs, notice changes, and share the information with the other healthcare workers.

A normal day for a health tech involves lots of tasks designed to make sure patients are safe and well. This includes checking vital signs, watching patient behaviors, and doing regular safety checks, sometimes called “Q15”. Their careful watch helps catch signs of trouble, like patients getting upset or anxious.

Being a health tech can be difficult and emotionally demanding, as patients face lots of different problems – from isolation & depression to having serious mental health episodes. Patients can sometimes act out without warning, which means health techs always have to be ready and able to adapt.

But, the job is rewarding, too. As one tech in the video says, the job taught them not to judge people and to talk to patients in a calm, polite way. Another tech enjoys seeing patients get better and learn new ways to improve their lives. Plus, health techs are not alone in their work – they work with a team of nurses and other health workers in a collaborative environment, focused on the patient's well-being.

The video also discusses how being a mental health tech (MHT) is a good first step for a career in healthcare. The experience teaches people important skills, like interpersonal communication and empathy, which are important in any role.

One of the biggest lessons from the video is the reminder that people struggling with mental health issues are just that - people. As one MHT points out, it's important to see the person beneath the symptoms and behaviors. This understanding helps them provide caring help, and it's a reminder for us to treat everyone we meet with kindness and respect.

The video shows us what being a Psych Tech is really like, breaks down misconceptions ideas about mental healthcare, and reminders us all to think carefully about how we see and interact with people struggling with mental health problems.

For more: Click here for a YouTube playlist featuring many first-hand accounts from psych techs & mental health workers.

A thumbnail of a playlist for multiple health tech videos.

To learn how VisibleHand supports health techs, visit or contact us at

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