In recent years, you may have noticed the term “mental health” popping up everywhere.
Be it advertisements, TV shows, podcasts, or even the rarely listened-to radio stations, conversations around mental health can be heard everywhere. The Healthcare sector is finally experiencing a much-needed change, and mental health is getting the attention it deserves.
Positive change was sparked even more by the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating effects on mental health worldwide. This change presents an opportunity for people interested in building their lives around the science and practice of mental health.
Psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health counselors have never been in greater demand than today. This trend will continue through the years.
How To Determine If This Career Is Right For You?
These traits might help you gauge whether a career in mental health is right for you and if you have what it takes.
Understanding the significance of mental health and how it affects society is essential. You should be able to acknowledge the depth of how mental health issues can affect not just the life of one person but the entire society as a whole.
Likewise, you must possess the zeal to keep learning about emerging mental health challenges plaguing today’s population. For this, it is highly crucial for you to advance your academics by pursuing higher degrees like a counseling doctorate or similar. They assist in remaining abreast of transforming population issues and mental health dynamics.
2. Open-mindedness and empathy
Being unbiased and unaffected by your ideologies and beliefs is essential for mental health professionals. The ability to place yourself in another’s situation and evaluate it from their perspective is crucial to determine whether you can survive in this field.
Empathy goes hand-in-hand with being open-minded. Suppose you can empathize with others and feel how they might be feeling without letting your experiences cloud your judgment. In that case, acknowledging your client’s feelings will make them feel valued.
Stress management is a skill you’ll probably learn on the job, but it is a useful quality to possess. Unsurprisingly, a staggering percentage of healthcare professionals deal with mental disorders.
Of course, you don’t want to be a part of that percentage. Mental health professionals must realize that while helping others overcome their issues, they also must care for their well-being.
Who Needs Mental Health Specialists?
In short, everyone and everywhere. Just like a management department is required in every organization, mental health professionals are required in every industry sector, regardless of the organization’s size.
Many large and small companies invest a lot of money in workplace mental health strategies to keep their employees in the right state of mind. It is estimated that 15% of working adults in 2019 (pre-COVID) suffered from a mental disorder, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Unfortunately, the entire global economy is affected by the financial losses caused by the employees’ poor mental health. For instance, it has been shown that the cost of lost productivity due to depression and anxiety is estimated to be one trillion dollars annually across the global economy. Moreover, anxiety and depression spiked by 25% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding to the mental health crisis worldwide.
Besides financial losses, mental health issues are a significant public health concern. They have a detrimental effect on the quality of life and, consequently, harm our society. Education, healthcare, and social work domains have the most prevalent cases of work-related stress, depression, and anxiety. And these stats keep rising with every passing year.
Even in the sports domain, mental health issues are a grave concern. Based on statistics and case studies, it is evident that players endure discrimination, suffer from depression and anxiety, and have a great deal of pressure put upon them.
There is a heightened need for mental health professionals in all organizations, from healthcare to education, business, and even sports. All in all, professionals working in any domain require mental health assistance. Even those who aren’t employed are battling minor or major mental health issues.
How To Become A Mental Health Professional?
Your undergraduate degree is the first step on your mental health career journey. Psychology, mental health, nursing, and several more mental health-related courses are offered at universities worldwide under different names and with varying modules.
The area of mental health you specialize in will be determined by your postgraduate degree. Many specializations are available in the mental health field, such as school and career counseling, substance abuse treatment, rehabilitation therapy, and marriage and family therapy.
You would be qualified to work in the mental health industry with a master’s degree. However, in clinical practice and research, employers tend to prefer candidates with a doctoral degree since the position requires a deeper understanding of the subject matter and more experience in the field.
A Ph.D. can be a viable choice if you want to research matters relating to mental health and other aspects of life, such as natural disasters, politics, and socioeconomic status.
For those more interested in practicing, you can choose a professional doctorate. For example, a counseling doctorate would suit you if you want to specialize in counseling patients on issues like marriage, family, work life, parental, etc.
Thanks to global mental health awareness and promotion, universities and governments are investing more time, effort, and money into mental health research and initiatives. And this means more opportunities for you. Scholarships are being provided to students for all degrees, and many research fellowships are being granted.
Mental health issues are rapidly rising, creating a high demand for mental health professionals. If this career piques your interest, know that several lucrative career opportunities await you. However, determining whether this career is the right fit for you is the foremost crucial step.
So, go over the detailed discussion above and determine if you can set foot in this domain. Not everyone can withstand the mounting responsibilities and challenges of mental health professions. Therefore, evaluate the stats, go over the required skills, and you can determine whether making a career in this field is worthwhile.