In recent years, the dwindling stigma around mental health has highlighted the need for professional mental healthcare workers. Research suggests that one in five people struggle with mental illness in the US during their lifetime. Hence, there is an ongoing demand for mental health counselors to assist individuals in understanding the source of their illness and coping with it. However, they must have the correct qualifications to provide the necessary tools to help them make a lasting difference in their clients’ lives.
Career Outlook For Mental Health Counselors
The US Bureau Of Labor Statistics has projected the estimated job growth to be around 23% until 2030, displaying an undeniably favorable career outlook in the current decade. There are a number of reasons that explain the positive growth in career prospects.
Primarily, the recent COVID-19 pandemic had wide-reaching effects, including increased mental health problems across the country. It impacted the lives of millions of people who were forced to stay indoors, fearing for the lives of their loved ones. It inevitably gave rise to issues like anxiety and depression, leading to an increased demand for mental health counselors.
Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act has ensured that insurance companies cover mental health treatment, helping people acquire easy access to mental health counseling services.
Qualifications To Be A Mental Health Counselor
Being a mental health counselor is a noble job, but it has its own set of challenges. You will be required to address various mental health issues like grief, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. You must be empathetic and create a judgment-free space to allow your clients to feel comfortable expressing their innermost feelings.
An online masters in counseling can be highly beneficial if you are a working individual who needs to juggle studies with your job. It can combine academic theory with a practical outlook to open the door to a world of opportunities.
Mental Health Counseling Careers
Understanding the future outlook and qualifications required can help you know what to expect. However, you need to know which career sparks your interest so you can put your efforts toward that cause. Here are some popular mental health careers that are well-paying and inspire job satisfaction among individuals by creating a meaningful impact.
1. Social Worker
Social workers are present in numerous settings, such as hospitals, schools, non-profit organizations, and child welfare agencies. Some social workers do not provide mental counseling; they refer them to professional clinical social workers who can provide therapy.
Social workers may offer support to children with nowhere to go, help people with disabilities by providing them with opportunities, and lend protection to people who have encountered abuse and trauma. Families need support to deal with mental illness and assurance that they can step out of hopeless situations.
Various homeless shelters host people who are on the brink of giving up hope due to a lack of opportunities. They encounter several kinds of mental illnesses that can give rise to severe depression. Social workers provide support to such people and help them cope with their illnesses and find a sure footing in life.
2. Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse has become increasingly widespread over the years, trapping teenagers and adults alike in its toxic cycle. It often extends its impact to entire families and communities, not just the addict themselves. Substance abuse counselors assist addicts on the path of recovery by either offering personal counseling or including them in support groups, helping them feel like they are not alone.
They also educate people regarding various coping behaviors that can help them stay on the right track instead of relapsing. However, the risk of relapse is usually high, so counseling has to be provided on a long-term basis. Substance abuse counselors work in community health and mental health centers along with private practices.
3. Relationship Therapist
Relationships can undergo several different issues, including domestic abuse, past traumas that impact current ways of coping with problems pertaining to relationships, and stressors arising due to fertility problems and loss of employment. Such bonds can end in divorce as they may not stand the test of time.
That is where relationship therapists can help. They can provide personal and group counseling, where they specifically target the source of problems and devise ways for the couple to deal with them. They help the partners communicate openly and develop trust again so they can find long-term solutions.
4. In-Home Therapist
Various families have a hostile home environment that can adversely affect the children’s upbringing. If left untreated, it can spread from generation to generation, trapping the family in an endless cycle of negativity.
In-home therapists can help such families break out of their shells and communicate so that everyone feels heard and comfortable. They also help families with a history of domestic abuse overcome their anger issues and find alternate ways of dispersing anger instead. You can make a massive impact on children’s lives by providing a safe environment that can teach them positive aspects rather than carrying forward the negativity.
5. School Adjustment Counselor
Young adults face a myriad of problems in school settings as they undergo puberty. It can include having trouble in social settings and being reserved, resulting in long-term social challenges. Moreover, they may face abuse at the hands of bullies, feel overwhelming pressure due to immense school work, and encounter cognitive challenges.
School adjustment counselors offer one-on-one services to such individuals by helping them navigate through the pressures of growing up. They can help them escape their shell, ease them into socializing and help them find coping mechanisms to handle various stressors. They also assist with learning practices that can help students tackle academic challenges more easily.
A degree in clinical mental health counseling can introduce you to numerous opportunities that can allow you to make a significant impact. You can help children, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens cope with depression, anxiety, insecurities, marital conflicts, hostile family environments, and PTSD. You also have the option of working in various settings, including hospitals, private practices, and mental health clinics. Due to the positive outlook in this field, you can have your pick of the many careers available as long as you have the required qualifications.