Career options for those interested in mental health

In today’s day and age, mental health has become a huge problem that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. In fact, 1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition while 11.01 percent of youths aged 12-17 suffered from at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

Unfortunately, many lack access to care which is a huge problem. A career in mental health is both noble and important as you can save people’s lives and make an enormous difference. There are many career options for those with an interest in mental health, read on for a few suggestions.

Skills needed

First, it is worth highlighting the skills that you need. All careers will need a qualification of some form, but somebody working in mental health must also be considerate, have excellent listening and verbal communication skills, good interpersonal skills, critical thinking and patience. You will be dealing with those that suffer from mental illness, behavioural problems and emotional difficulties on a daily basis and this can take its toll, so you must also have a strong character and determination to make a difference.

Clinical psychologist

A clinical psychologist will diagnose and treat those with emotional, mental and behavioural problems or help patients to deal with crises. This is an incredibly important position and you will need to complete a PhD in psychology which can take several years to complete, but it is also a rewarding and lucrative career path which will allow you to make a huge difference to people’s lives.

Social worker

A clinical social worker will also diagnose disorders and provide treatment through individual and group therapy. You can become a clinical social worker by completing a master’s degree in social work, or you can become a social worker with a bachelor’s degree, but you will not be treating patients in a clinical setting.


Psychiatrists have to complete four years of medical school and then a further four-year residency in psychiatry to obtain a medical license and certification, but the job prospects are excellent and it is a very well paid position. Psychiatrists specialise in treating psychiatric disorders and provide a very important service.


A mental health counsellor will help a wide range of people to overcome mental and emotional disorders, and it is an occupation that is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. Mental health counsellors must complete a master’s degree in mental health counselling or a similar field.

School counsellor

Those that are interested in helping people and working with children could consider becoming a school counsellor. School counsellors provide support to students for mental, emotional and behavioural health along with psycho-social wellness and development. In addition to this, they help students with their academic and career options and generally provide support for the students. To qualify, an individual will need to complete a Master’s degree in school counselling.

Marriage and family therapist

This profession involves couples, individuals, and families to manage or overcome a wide range of disorders or mental illnesses within the context of relationships. It is an occupation which is predicted to grow rapidly in the coming years. You will need to complete a Master’s degree in marriage and family therapy to qualify.

Psychiatric nurse

This position involves caring for patients with mental disorders, and you must be a registered nurse to qualify. You must complete a nursing programme where you will be credited with a science degree which will include psychiatric-mental health education, but you can also earn a master’s degree if you want to become an advanced practice psychiatric nurse. Like most careers in mental health, this role is expected to grow rapidly over the next six years with great job prospects, plus it is also a highly important line of work.

With mental health becoming a huge problem all around the world, there has been a massive increase in the need for qualified mental health professionals. There are many areas that an individual could go into to make a difference to those of all ages and backgrounds but you will need to qualify in order to find a position.

Although it can be challenging and, at times, upsetting work, it is also noble and important work as you will be making an enormous difference to people’s lives on a daily basis and helping them to overcome a range of mental, emotional and behavioural issues which are so prevalent in today’s society.

Is a career in mental health of interest to you? Let us know in the comments which area appeals to you and why.

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