If you are interested in working in mental health, there are a number of different careers that you could pursue. Here are just four that you might like to consider, with pros, cons, and tips for each.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialise in mental health. They diagnose and treat conditions like anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia, to name just a few. Key skills required for this job include analytical thinking, an understanding of mind-body relationships and neurochemistry knowledge.
Being a psychiatrist has many pluses, including receiving a rewarding salary and being able to provide struggling people with comprehensive treatment plans. However, extensive study commitments and potential high-stress situations pose challenges.
Pursuing a career in psychiatry requires an undergraduate degree and medical school graduation, followed by a residency in psychiatry.
2. Clinical psychologist
A clinical psychologist assesses, diagnoses and treats clients facing psychological issues or disorders. They achieve this by using methods like cognitive-behavioural therapy. Clinical psychologists require strong interpersonal skills as well as an understanding of psychological theories.
The biggest advantage to this role is that you get to aid individuals in navigating their emotional struggles, which can lead to greater personal fulfilment. But keep in mind that it can be emotionally draining to deal with others’ problems regularly. A doctoral degree in psychology is required for this career path – either a PhD or PsyD, which you should seek after completing your undergraduate degree in the same field.
3. Counsellor or therapist
Counsellors and therapists help people to manage their issues through talk therapy techniques. They typically specialise in areas like marriage, family or addiction. Important skills you will need for this role include active listening and communication abilities as well as patience and emotional resilience.
It can be a highly rewarding position, as you will see individuals or families make significant strides towards better mental health. But this role can also bring emotional challenges, as you will continually hear about individuals’ painful experiences.
To get into this profession, a master’s degree in counselling with some hours of supervised experience is generally the standard. Gaining first-hand experience through internships or volunteering for helplines can be beneficial, too.
4. Psychiatric nurse
Psychiatric nurses are specially trained to care for patients dealing with mental illness, either in an institutional setting or on an outpatient basis. They need strong resilience, empathy as well as medical knowledge in psychiatry.
Pros include enjoying a multifaceted role and balancing medical and psychological patient needs, while cons include dealing with potentially unstable patients and having irregular work hours.
To join this profession, pursue a nursing degree at the bachelor’s level. Later, specialise in psychiatry during your continuing education. Volunteering at mental hospitals can provide a taste of the environment and challenges related to this profession.
Creating your CV
After selecting your chosen career path in mental health and you have gained the necessary qualifications, you can stand a better chance of landing your ideal job by tailoring your CV for the precise position you are applying for.
Your CV should highlight your relevant qualifications, skills, and experiences. A well-structured CV can open doors to various job opportunities. However, if creating a professional resume seems daunting, do not fear. You can build a free resume with this easy-to-use online tool to help you create a great first impression.
Choosing your career in mental health
Deciding which career in mental health suits you best will require introspection and research. So, reflect on your strengths, interests, and long-term goals. Then, explore each career in more detail to understand the precise daily tasks, work environments, required education and potential career growth.
You will then be able to make a more informed decision as to which career in mental health would best suit you.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.