When the pandemic swiftly swept the countries around the globe, it became clear the insufficient protection and assistance available for the most vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, pregnant women, and the homeless.
If you are driven by your desire to help those in need, give back to the community or fight for the underdog, you might find fulfilling career options in community service. There is a wide range of options to choose from, depending on the nature of work and the community members to whom the work is dedicated.
There are about 970 million volunteers in the world. The total hours contributed to volunteerism equate to over 125 million full-time workers who contribute $1.3 trillion worth of work.
While volunteerism is a wonderful option, full dedication to the social causes is necessary to ensure the under-served get consistent and proportionate levels of assistance.
Up for the challenge? Here are some of the community service career options for you.
Mental health professional
Mental health has been increasingly recognised in its importance and has been paid more attention to in recent years. Thanks to the improved awareness, more investment and support for mental health of the communities have been granted by both public and private entities.
Unfortunately, 75% of those suffering mental or neurological disorders come from low-income and poverty-stricken communities with limited access to treatment and care. Despite this, only 1% of the global health workforce is dedicated to mental health. Providing support to these vulnerable members may be in the cards for you if you possess psychology or psychiatry degrees.
Aged care worker
Today about 1 in 11 are above age 65. The current trends indicate that by 2050, one in six people in the world will be older than 65 (one in 4 in Europe and North America). The care for the elderly is more critical now than ever. So far about 50% of COVID-19 deaths were linked to homes for the elderly.
Besides being vulnerable to viral infections, they are also more susceptible to other bodily harm or illnesses. It is projected that one-third of Australians will die before turning 75 from a chronic illness. Pain and risk management for the elderly is a crucial need in our society. It is a fulfilling career for you if you enjoy the company of the wisest generation.
Addiction is a growing issue in the global community. In America, almost 21 million suffer from addictions but only 10% of them receive treatment. Drug overdose deaths have tripled in the past 30 years. In Australia, over 15% of the population have some form of drug dependency. Sadly, about 70% of the drug overdose deaths are due to prescription drugs.
While there is rising awareness around addiction as an illness rather than a crime, the support and care of those who succumb to substance addiction is inadequate to say the least. Be the fighter and advocate of this effort and help people get their lives back on track.
About 29% of Australian children receive child protection services and the number has unfortunately increased since 2012. Children in the aboriginal communities are 8 times more likely to receive child protection services than the rest.
Child abuse is often difficult to detect and address as children often do not know how to report and signs could take a long time to be noticed by others. The long-term impact of child abuse is devastating and child protection is a great responsibility that should be shared by the entire village.
Support for refugees and immigrants
Refugees and immigrants often need help upon arrival. There are often legal complexities they need to navigate, finding jobs, assimilation efforts, and handling discriminatory treatment, etc.
Fighting for their rights, let alone understanding them clearly, is a challenge for this community. Thus, there are support services from the government, private sector, and non-for-profits and professionals dedicated to helping the immigrants and their families best integrate into the society and become contributing members.
This group of community desperately needs legal assistance so if you have some background in the law, your expertise could help hundreds of thousands in such a meaningful way.
Image credit: Freepik
Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.
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