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What Makes Mental Health a Desirable Career Path?

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A few things are certain in life – taxes, chores, illness and some good times too. Sure, life has its challenges, but on the whole, we try to make the most of it, carving out some leisure time amidst our responsibilities. And one responsibility that we all have is work. Life in this society costs money, whether for rent, food, a car, putting your kids through school or saving up for a holiday. We all need to work – part-time, full-time, casual or contract. There’s no avoiding it. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t choose a career path that’s fulfilling as well as financially viable. Many people work jobs that bring them contentment and joy. 

One viable career path is the mental health field. Whether you study for a mental health counselor online degree or a certificate in mental health, there are quite a few professions you can end up in if you choose the mental health sector as your career. But what exactly makes mental health a desirable career path? This article will share the top reasons. Read on to discover more.

A career in mental health is rewarding

Many people work jobs where profit is the primary purpose of the company they’re employed by: salespeople, data analysts, managers, CEOs, and product developers. There’s nothing wrong with this, we all need to make a living, and the private sector is a major employer. But there’s something that’s just a touch more fulfilling and rewarding about helping people as part of your job.

By working in mental health, you get to support people experiencing a tough time in their life – as they suffer from anxiety, depression, psychosis, personality disorders, or mood disorders such as bipolar. During this time in their lives, they need professional help that is calm, compassionate, empathetic and nurturing. If you work in the mental health sector, you can embody these values and make a genuine difference in someone’s life. A career in mental health is rewarding on a level beyond the financial.

You’ll build excellent communication skills

As a career in mental health is centered around helping people and working closely with them, this career path will give you an excellent opportunity to develop and build extraordinary communication skills. You need to inspire a sense of trust and develop a nurturing professional relationship with your clients, and communication skills are essential here. 

For instance, you might be required to work one-on-one with clients, and you’ll need to develop a professional rapport with them quickly. Or, you might be required to facilitate group sessions, in which case you’ll develop excellent facilitation and communication skills. These skills you’ll build are easily transferable to other sectors, so even if you leave the mental health sector after a while, you’ll take everything you’ve learned with you. 

You can progress your career

Even if you begin your career in mental health in an entry-level role such as a support worker, counselor or peer worker, with some time and experience, you can work your way up the ladder. The mental health sector needs roles like team leaders, managers, senior managers and other leadership roles to inspire teams and ensure program goals are met. After a few years in a junior role, you can begin applying for leadership opportunities, enhancing your career and seeing you net a decent pay rise. 

There is a high demand for mental health jobs

Mental illness is quite common, with around 5% of people experiencing a severe mental illness and even more suffering from conditions like anxiety, stress and depression. This means there’s significant demand for mental health jobs, as these people need professional support, care and management. 

Unlike other sectors that are saturated with talent, there’s a decent demand for skilled mental health professionals. Once you’ve obtained your mental health qualification, you should be able to find work – and have a variety of roles to choose from. This is a great situation to be in, as you can pick from different roles and find something you love doing. 

Mental health work is challenging

If you love a challenge, then a career in mental health is the perfect choice for you. Working in the sector requires a broad range of skills, and each day will present a new challenge for you to apply these skills to. You’ll need critical thinking skills, communication skills (as we mentioned above), and problem-solving skills, and you’ll learn how to react and respond to challenges quickly. If you thrive on challenges, this is your career path.

You can work in a variety of settings

The great thing about a mental health qualification is that it will enable you to work in various settings related to mental health. For instance, you could find employment in the following settings:

  • Inpatient mental health
  • Outpatient mental health
  • Community mental health
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Aged care
  • Youth services
  • Housing and homelessness
  • Family support
  • Family counseling
  • Domestic and family violence

The above sectors intersect with mental health, as people often have co-occurring issues. A mental health professional can offer a unique skill set and workplace experience in each setting.

Final thoughts

This helpful article has shared why mental health is a desirable career path. We’ve covered what you can gain from this career and why it is rewarding, fulfilling and an excellent choice.

Tim Williamson, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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