Mental health is as important as physical health. But sadly, it is highly overlooked. To your surprise, approximately half of the population (46.4%) of the USA suffer from some form of mental illness at least once in their lifetime.
A mental illness is just a typical physical illness of the brain that disturbs the behaviour, thinking process, emotions, and energy levels. All of these disturbances make it difficult for the patient suffering from mental illness to cope with the normal and regular demands of human life.
The probable causes of mental illness include brain chemistry, genetics, brain structure, other physical medical conditions, and trauma experienced in the past.
We talked about mental illness, but let us now understand what are the ways in which it can be treated. There are undoubtedly many ways in which you can treat and cure mental illness. A few of them include showing the individuals suffering from mental illness respect and acceptance, learning more about mental health to understand them better, and consulting a mental health counselor.
Being a mental health counselor comes with dual benefits. The first is that you are helping someone in need (socially), and the other is that you are making money out of it (economically). This article talks about how to start your career as a mental health counselor.
Who Can Become a Mental Health Counselor?
Anyone can become a mental health counselor if they want. All you need is the passion to help someone and the desire to understand how the human brain behaves.
You should be a graduate and earn a bachelor’s degree in the field of psychology, behavioural, and social sciences.
Post that, you have to earn a masters degree in the field of mental health counseling. Then obtain the supervised practice license to counsel and heal minds.
What All Degrees Are Needed To Pursue Mental Health Counseling?
Counseling programs usually focus on the practice of guiding or assisting individual adults, groups, families, and children. The field of psychology includes counseling practices, but the psychological programs lay emphasis on the study of behaviour, mind, and consciousness. Psychologists usually require a doctorate and a license to practice. At the same time, the therapists and counselors need a master’s degree and practice license.
Here are a few degrees that are required to pursue your career as a mental health counselor.
- Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Counseling.
- Master’s Degree in Psychology and Counseling.
- Doctoral Degree in Psychology and Counseling.
- Certificate in Psychology and Counseling.
Responsibilities of a Mental Health Counselor
The primary role of a mental health counselor includes understanding the problems faced by the patient with mental illness, evaluating the probable cause of the same and lastly finding ways to treat it in the best possible ways. In addition to that, the following are the responsibilities of a mental health counselor:
- Assessing, diagnosing, and helping patients experiencing symptoms of psychological distress.
- Providing psychotherapy to patients who have a mental illness.
- Talking to clients about their past experiences, past traumas, emotions and thoughts.
- Conducting family counseling sessions.
- Communicating and working with the patients to set goals, create a treatment plan, and track the progress throughout the treatment.
- Communicating with the patients to identify behaviours, situations, and thoughts that interfere with their recovery process.
- Identifying external and social issues that are having a negative impact on the health of the client’s mental wellbeing. These issues might include peer pressure, bullying, prejudice, work pressure, financial challenges, substance use, and health issues.
- Referring the patients to several other healthcare professionals if required.
How Much Does A Mental Health Counselor Earn?
There are several positions in which a mental health counselor can work and help people improve and combat their mental illness. These positions include:
- Clinical Mental Health Counselor
- Substance Abuse Counselor
- Rehabilitation Counselor
- Crisis Counselor
- Veterans Counselor
- Family, Marriage, and Couple counselor
- Grief Counselor
The scope of becoming a mental health counselor is increasing at an exponential rate. So, you should consider becoming a mental health counselor by pursuing the required curriculum and obtaining the necessary degrees.
Becoming a mental health counselor will not only fetch you a sense of self-accomplishment but huge financial perks as well. The annual median salary of a mental health counselor is $40,266. Furthermore, the demand for the same is expected to grow even further in the future.
Future of Mental Health Counseling
There will be a dramatic surge in the need for mental health counselors in the future. However, the situations are quite different at present. It’s not that people aren’t experiencing any psychological distress, but they are scared to share their problems with anyone because of the legit fear of being judged. They would rather want to consult a counselor online first instead of visiting one in person. But this is just a phase, the time when people will be more comfortable talking about their mental state is nearing, accelerating the need for more efficient and professional mental health counselors. So, if you start today, you will have a competitive edge over others.
Guest Author Bio
Mike Davidson is a writer who is passionate about writing. He holds expertise in writing about topics related to career, business, and technology.