Support, time and recovery worker

A support, time and recovery (STR) worker helps adults and young people with mental health problems or a learning disability. By offering practical support and advice, they are improving people's lives across the local community. 

Working life 

STR workers provide support and give time to the service user to help their recovery.


You'll help people manage a variety of issues affecting their ability to live their lives such as:

  • homelessness
  • substance misuse (alcohol and drugs)
  • social exclusion
  • challenging behaviour
  • unemployment
  • basic skills

You'll help them by:

  • undestanding what they need and building relationships
  • planning a programme of support
  • working with their families and friends
  • referring them to other agencies that can help
  • recording information and updating records. 

Where will I work?

You may be based in mental health units, probation service offices, clinics, courts, hospitals or police headquarters. Wherever they are based, STR workers spend a lot of time visiting people in their homes.

Who will I work with?

As well as working with people in the local community, you may work with mental health nurses, psychiatrists and social workers. You will also work with other agencies such as housing, police, training providers and accommodation providers.

Entry requirements 

There are no set entry requirements to become a support, time and recovery worker. However, employers ask for a qualification in healthcare and/or relevant experience.

Employers often want to see that you have experience of mental health services. This could be from working with young people or adults with mental health issues, either paid or voluntary. Your experience could also be from your personal circumstances - looking after someone with mental health issues or dealing with your own mental health issues.

Employers also expect good literacy and numeracy. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent.

Skills and personal characteristics needed 

STR workers need to be:

  • willing to work with people with challenging behaviour
  • able to motivate people to make changes in their lives
  • accepting of other peoples lifestyles
  • understanding of people with mental health issues
  • flexible and adaptable to deal with unpredictable situations
  • resilient
  • calm in stressful situations

You'll also need 

  • very good communication skills, including listening
  • accurate report-writing skills
  • practical skills for everyday living
  • problem-solving skills

Training and development 

As an STR worker, you will go through an induction programme. You will have ongoing training to keep your skills and knowledge up to date.

You may work towards a qualification in mental health at level 2 or 3. This may be via an apprenticeship.

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