Do you have an interest in mental health? This has become an area of enormous focus and discussion in recent times with people of all ages and from all backgrounds experiencing some form of mental health issue. The stigma surrounding mental health is gradually fading, but there is still a lot of important work to be done and the industry needs people who feel passionate about mental well-being.
There are many excellent career options for those with an interest in mental health and working in this field can be challenging work but also incredibly rewarding as you can have a huge difference to people’s lives.
Mental health counsellor
A mental health counsellor is a common choice for those with an interest in mental health. Their duties typically include mental health assessments, developing treatment plans, running workshops and leading individual and group therapy sessions. This role requires a master’s degree but you must also possess a wide range of skills, including the ability to connect with people, analytical skills and written and verbal communication skills.
A mental health social worker helps those that have mental health problems which affect their day to day lives. They are not involved in the diagnosis but instead provide support, guidance and information on how they can manage their mental health problems. This can include finding assistance through government and community programmes. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement, but many go on to complete a master’s degree.
A clinical psychologist identifies and treats mental health issues in clients and develops treatment plans. Their work is usually with clients with more serious issues than a mental health counsellor. It can take around 10 years of education and training to become fully licensed, but this can be a rewarding work. It can also be challenging because you can deal with people suffering from severe mental health issues which can be troubling.
Family nurse practitioner
Family nurse practitioners, or FNPs, provides care for individuals and families throughout their lives which allows you to make strong connections and make a big difference. This means that it can be also be rewarding work and it is a role that is well paid and has good growth as demand is expected to surge. You will need a master’s Family Nurse Practitioner degree to find work – click here to find out more.
Marriage and family therapist
In this role, you will help couples and families to learn how to manage or overcome mental health problems within the context of their relationships. This is becoming increasingly more common with mental health issues being more prevalent and having an impact on people’s romantic and family relationships. You will need a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in order to find work.
GP or hospital administrator
Of course, you do not always have to train for many years and deal with people directly if you have an interest in this field. If you were to become a GP or hospital administrator you can make a difference by providing support to teams that help those with mental health difficulties. This can be a less hands-on role which is still rewarding, enjoyable and allows you to make a positive difference to people’s lives.
School and career counsellor
If you like the idea of working with young people then this could be a good choice. A school and career counsellor will help students to develop the social and emotional skills that they need to succeed at school, in their career and in their life in general. Many children suffer from various mental health and behavioral issues so you will help them to gain a better understanding of these issues and how they can be addressed. In addition to working with the students, this will also involve working with staff at the school as well as parents to determine the best course of action.
These are just a few roles to consider if you have an interest in mental health. Mental health affects people all around the world in many different ways and it is an area which is starting to be explored and talked about more often. This means that there will be a big demand for mental health professionals in the coming years and this is important, noble and life-changing work. It can also be challenging and difficult but fantastic when you are able to help people. Due to the serious nature of the work, you will usually need to study and train extensively but there are a few career options which will not require as much study.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He writes for the American Psychological Association and has a weekly column for Free Malaysia Today.
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