When we think of jobs in healthcare, the first ones that spring to mind are often related to people’s physical health (for example, physicians, surgeons, and nurses). However, for those of us who are more interested in mental health, there are still a great many different career paths to choose from. Some are related to direct patient care, whereas others focus more on indirect patient care. Whatever your skills, characteristics and personal preferences, there’s sure to be a role out there that suits you. Here are some ideas to get you inspired.
Psychiatric nurses are specially trained to treat patients with a wide range of mental health conditions. They will assess a person’s needs and then develop and implement an appropriate care plan, evaluating it regularly and making changes where necessary. Your duties and responsibilities will vary according to where you work, but will generally focus on providing primary healthcare services – for example, prescribing and administering medication. There are lots of opportunities to specialize within this career path, such as by focusing on certain patient groups or mental health conditions.
Mental health counselor
As a mental health counselor, you will work with a diverse range of individuals, families, or groups to help them overcome their unique challenges and achieve their goals. After taking an online counseling degree, you could be employed in a wide variety of settings, including colleges, schools, correctional facilities, hospitals, and health centers. Again, there are many different specialties open to you, from working with veterans to supporting young people or helping those who are suffering from addiction.
This role is well suited to those who prefer not to work directly with patients. It involves combining law and psychology to help understand the root cause of antisocial behavior and minimize crime. For example, you could work within the criminal justice system to help narrow down a suspect list or work out the motive behind a particular crime. For those who do wish to work directly with patients, you could help provide psychotherapy to people who have been the victims of crime or make expert assessments of the mental health condition of offenders.
For those with a curious mind, a career as an experimental psychologist could be perfect. This role involves conducting experiments in order to discover more about human behavior, normally in a university or private research center. You will then analyze your findings to try and improve the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of mental health conditions. Generally speaking, a Ph.D. is required in order to succeed in this field.
As a creative therapist, you will use art, drama, music, or other creative pursuits to help people suffering from mental health conditions deal with the complex emotional issues they are facing. For instance, this could be with young children, the elderly, people with learning difficulties, or those who have neurological problems. Creative therapy can be conducted on an individual basis or in a group and in a wide variety of settings such as schools, hospitals and correctional facilities.