Do you want to make a career in one of the mental health professions? The mental health field is an enriching career path. It allows you to see the impact of your work directly in the lives of people dealing with mental illness or other emotional issues.
Whether you’re a therapist treating patients one-on-one or working with larger groups, you’ll find that there’s always more work than hours in the day. Opportunities abound for advancement within this field and outside of it.
Why Mental Health Profession Is Extremely Rewarding?
In 2021, 52.9 million US residents were living with some form of mental health disorder. No wonder a career in this sector is highly regarded. If you choose this profession, your work will impact thousands of lives. You will be able to improve the mental health of victims, reduce crime rates and prevent suicides. Consequently, you will make society and the globe a healthier place to exist.
As a mental health professional, you’ll have the chance to interact with patients with a wide range of needs and issues. Issues may range from as tolerant as stress and anxiety to as severe as depression and schizophrenia. The victims might even do self-harm and attempt suicide.
Mental health is undoubtedly gratifying when you witness how much progress your patients make over time. If you want to dominate this area, here are some of the most unique and high-paying career opportunities to consider:
Five Gratifying Mental Health Professions
Before we get into the most fulfilling mental health careers, let’s look at what qualifies you for them.
You must hold a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 or higher GPA. This will help you gain admission into most master’s programs. If you have already graduated from college and earned your bachelor’s degree, consider enrolling in an accredited master’s degree program that offers courses related to mental health counselling.
It is crucial to note that eligibility criteria may vary between institutions. Hence, before applying, check their course specifications and make an informed decision. Now that you know how to enter the profession, here are 5 must-consider fields:
In a survey of 1848 pilots, about 12.6% suffered from depression, and 4.1% had suicidal thoughts. You’ll save countless lives if you help with their mental issues. A pilot who has a mental condition may be unfit to operate at work. This might endanger the passengers’ lives.
Aviation psychologists assist pilots in dealing with stress, anxiety, and personal issues. They also help understand the flight process and train pilots to deal with stressful situations effectively. In addition, they provide psychological support to them as and when needed. Ultimately, ensuring that your pilots are mentally fit for duty is essential.
Art therapy leverages art to explore and express emotions. It’s been around since the 1940s. However, it’s only recently become more popular in the world.
Art therapists treat their client’s mental health issues by focusing on the creative process. They do not choose to find solutions immediately. They act as observers while the patient creates visual art like paintings or sculptures.
The therapist then helps the patient analyze their work. This allows them to better identify how they are feeling psychologically. Unlike conventional techniques, art therapists help patients realize the root cause of their problems and emotions and treat them accordingly.
Art therapists are not just limited to working in hospitals. They also work at schools where children may face challenges such as bullying or feeling isolated from others because of a disability like autism spectrum disorder (ASD). And the opportunities are endless.
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor
In the US, over 20.4% suffer from alcohol use disorder, and 25.4% suffer from drug use disorder. Many sufferers need help to overcome their addiction and prevent relapse.
As alcohol and drug abuse counsellors, you’ll work with individuals addicted to alcohol or drugs. You will advise them to seek therapy and rehab. The treatment can be individual therapy, group counselling sessions, or a combination.
In this field, you can work in various settings, such as hospitals, rehabilitation centres, private practices, or even school systems. However, for specific environments, most states require licensure.
Disability Service Officers
A disability service officer (DSO) supports people with disability and mental health problems. While most DSOs work for government agencies, you can also find them in community-based organizations or hospitals.
Some DSOs have psychology, sociology, or counselling backgrounds and hold master’s degrees from graduate schools of social work. They provide case management services to the disabled with mental health disorders. These professionals help clients live independently while providing support when they need it most.
To be effective in this field, you must have strong communication abilities. You will closely work with clients regularly to build treatment programs that match their specific needs. Since people with disabilities are five times more likely to suffer mental health problems, this can be a lucrative job opportunity for you.
Forensic psychiatrists are medical doctors who study mental disorders and their relationship to criminal conduct. They may also be called “forensic psychologists” or “clinical forensic psychologists.”
Forensic psychiatrists help courts determine a criminal’s mental state during the trial and at the time of the crime. Also, if any psychiatric symptoms that may be relevant to the case. You may also:
- Testify as an expert witness at trial.
- Consult with police detectives about suspects’ mental states during interrogations.
- Assess a suspect’s fitness for release on bail or bond and recommend suitable conditions.
- Provide treatment for mentally ill inmates in prisons or jails.
If you want to get deeper into the areas of work, you can read the story of Taj Nathan, a forensic mental health practitioner who also helps murderers.
While the mental health field is a rewarding career path, it’s essential to research the various jobs and training options before jumping in. Consider what you want from your career, do you hold what it takes to into a mental health professional? Can you empathise with others? How much time and money do you want to invest, and whether you’d like to volunteer for an internship or take courses at a community college?
If you’re uncertain about these things, try looking up some resources online or asking friends who work in the industry. There are several avenues to enter this field. Harness your enthusiasm for helping others to treat those with mental illnesses.