Empowering Others to Heal: 6 Career Options in Mental Health Services

Career Options in Mental Health Services

Countless people have endured emotional traumas, spiritual traumas, and other assorted mental traumas that need healing. Many people seek out professional help when their levels of stress, grief, or trauma seem too overwhelming to bear on their own. Would you be interested in helping to empower others to heal? If so, you’d be likely to succeed with a career in mental health services. The following are 6 career options to consider:

1. Psychiatrist

 There’s a clearly established connection between the human body and mind. It isn’t uncommon for mental and physical health issues to go hand-in-hand, and there are occasionally even cases where depression appears to manifest in the body as physical pain. When this type of situation happens, psychiatrists are likely to be the mental health professionals who are best equipped to help affected patients heal. Psychiatrists are fully trained and licensed as medical doctors, and they’re also equipped with psychology training. One primary differentiating factor between psychiatrists and psychologists is that psychiatrists have the legal authority and expertise needed to prescribe medications.

2. Psychologist

There are various methods psychologists can use to help their patients heal. Some of these include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy and group therapy. Psychologists can help people to recover from a variety of issues, disorders and traumas. Some examples include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Many psychologists work alongside primary care physicians or psychiatrists when administering care to people who have complex mental and physical health problems.

3. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse

Psychiatric mental health nurses take a different approach to caring for mental health patients and people who are living with substance abuse disorders. While they don’t directly administer therapy, they do focus much of their attention on educating people with the goal of empowering them to achieve their recovery objectives. In cases where more than one doctor is involved with an individual’s treatments, they help to coordinate care. They are actively involved with crisis intervention and stabilization efforts. Senior-level advanced practice psychiatric nurses may also be responsible for ordering and evaluating test results, diagnosing disorders and assessing treatments.  

4. Mental Health Counselor

Mental health counselors perform many of the same tasks psychologists do; they assess and treat mental health issues and disorders. There are several main differentiators between psychologists and mental health counselors:

  • Psychologists are likely to oversee treatments for people with severe disorders, whereas mental health counselors are likely to help people cope with everyday issues like stress, anxiety and grief. However, there is much overlap in their roles.
  • Psychologists must hold an advanced degree – typically a Ph.D., but in some states they may legally practice under the supervision of a doctoral psychologist after obtaining a master’s degree. Requirements vary by state for both psychologists and counselors. In most locations in the United States, mental health counselors must obtain at least a bachelor’s degree. 
  • In many locations, there are comparatively more limitations on the scope of the mental health counselor’s job description. For example, psychologists are typically able to freely administer assessments, whereas counselors who wish to do this must frequently work under the supervision of a licensed working psychologist. 

5. Psychiatric Technician

A psychiatric technician is an individual who works as part of a healthcare team to care for developmentally disabled people or people who are living with mental disorders. They typically work under the direct supervision of physicians. It’s most common for them to work in hospital settings, but some of them also work in mental health clinics, substance abuse rehab centers, or government facilities.

6. Psychology Instructor

Psychology instructors teach psychology courses to students who are interested in learning more about mental healthcare. Often, students who enroll in these courses are aspiring mental healthcare professionals.

While psychology instructors don’t deal directly with patients, they’re still an instrumental part of the process for empowering others to heal. This is because psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses and counselors in most locations need to obtain relevant academic credentials before they can legally practice. Without talented psychology instructors to teach them what they need to know, aspiring mental health practitioners wouldn’t be able to obtain their degrees or get licensed.

If you’re interested in empowering other people to heal from traumas or better cope with mental health disorders, any of these career paths could be a worthwhile choice to consider.


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