Mental health has become a huge issue and topic for debate in our modern society, with many pitfalls and obstacles for those looking to pursue a career in that direction. However, if you are truly committed to helping people make positive changes in their lives and build themselves up, then the mental health field is for you, as more and more people are investing in their mental well-being as stress rises and services become more accessible to the general population.
But you might be asking yourself which direction and career you should go in; each is distinct, even when there is overlap in what these professionals do. And how to even go about it? Well, you are in luck, as we illuminate your possible future professions.
Social workers work primarily in communities, connecting people to resources and providing counseling to clients. They are acquainted with local services and assist citizens with logistical tasks to organize their lives, decreasing their stress and, in consequence, improving the outcomes of mental health. Social workers serve the community holistically, often helping people with finances, education, legal matters, obtaining food, and a host of other common issues.
They work with all of the population, from working in schools to helping veterans and elder care facilities to, very importantly, addiction recovery centers, one of the most stressful but also noble and well-meaning institutions you can work in. They help save addicts from their demons daily; each center has its own world of suffering and healing. If you are in Arizona and looking for a place to hone your skills and help people, opt for the highly rated Scottsdale rehab, and you can help someone on their journey to recovery and wholeness. To become a social worker, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree (although some professions require only a bachelor’s degree), take an exam for the position, get some field experience, get licensed by the state if you are in the U.S., and then you are set to go, continuing your education to keep the license.
A prestigious position, but one you should carefully consider and weigh because becoming a psychologist takes a long time, and you will be in school for a long time before you will be practicing full-time in the field. They work on treating mental health disorders, generally through private practice, although they can also be researchers, investigating, for example, human behavior and effective methods of treatment. They can suggest or implement interventions for mental health disorders, but they cannot make recommendations or prescriptions for medicine.
You need a bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree, as well as post-doctoral training, and then you take the examination required by your state or country to obtain the license to practice your craft. You will have to renew your license when necessary, but you can now work as a psychologist.
Like in psychology, you are going to want a head start if you are intent on heading down this career path, as it will require quite a lot of time, work, and patience. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who primarily specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health and behavioral disorders, so they are quite similar to psychologists, except for the fact that they have to complete extra training so that they can be certified to actually prescribe medication as part of the treatment, or perhaps approach the treatment from a more medical angle and background. They typically work in private practices, but they can also be employed in other settings like hospitals or addiction recovery centers, as we mentioned previously. They are most commonly approached when an assessment, evaluation, or diagnosis is sought, but they can also provide more traditional psychotherapy.
Because of their advanced education and inclusion in the medical community, psychiatrists make much more than the other careers we have listed. You will require a bachelor’s degree, a degree from medical school, complete a residency, get supervised field experience, and get licensed and certified in whatever state or country you are in.
No matter what path you choose, you should never choose on a whim. Not only should you be cautious about which way to go, but perhaps more importantly, why? Why do you want to become involved with mental health? For the money, fame, station, and status that come with being a successful psychologist or psychiatrist? Or do you want to genuinely help people, to aid them in their suffering and hardships? Nobody can tell you why to do something, but an ulterior motive is a large and important building block on the path to these positions.
Mental health is a noble career path to pursue, with numerous options available to you, but it will require work and dedication, so carefully consider your options before making a decision and sticking to it. Now you know your options, and the rest is in your hands.