The human mind runs constantly and when it derails, it leads to multiple problems that the experts are yet trying to find the right kind of solutions to. As per WHO (World Health Organisation), about 20% of the Indian population suffers from some or the other mental illness. What makes this even worse is the uneven ratio of mental health patients and mental health experts. There are very few mental health experts and hence their expertise is accessible only to a few.
Pursuing a career in mental health is surely challenging given the existence of multifarious kinds of mental illnesses and disorders, however, a career in the arena of mental health is equally interesting and rewarding. It is a misleading belief that the scope in mental health is limited only to Psychiatry. There are many other career options you can explore.
We have listed below 5 major options in the field of mental wellness/health
A Clinical Psychologist carries out the function of assessing, diagnosing, treating and preventing mental illnesses. Clinical psychologists work in medical settings, run private practices and also work with other private institutions to help those undergoing mental issues. Clinical psychologists, however, don’t prescribe medicines and treat patients with solely therapy and other mental health exercises.
To become a clinical psychologist, you must pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.
Mental Health Counselor
Under this field, mental health counselors provide guidance to those individuals who find it difficult to deal with their emotions, stress and other issues. Under this, a counselor handles issues like mild depression, phobia, addiction, generalized anxiety disorder, self-esteem issues, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, etc.
Your first step in becoming a mental health counselor is to study undergraduate courses in either science, psychology, or sociology. If you hold an undergraduate degree from another field, you must have a master’s degree in mental health psychology.
A career in Psychiatry enables the practitioner to provide treatment by means of counselling and also by prescribing medications. A psychiatrist not just treats mental illness but pays equal attention to mental disorders/illness that arises due to many physical illnesses/issues like surgical or gynaecological issues. The most common mental issues a psychiatrist deals with extreme and severe depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.
To become a Psychiatrist, you need to complete an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) in Psychiatry, after finishing your MBBS. You can also apply for M.D.(Psychiatry) after the completion of your graduation/post-graduation in Psychology. You can also do a Diploma in Psychiatric Medicine (DPM) from a reputed and renowned educational institute.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse is a growing concern that needs to be tackled effectively. Substance abuse like alcohol and drugs can have life-threatening impacts. Substance abuse, along with having a negative impact on the physical health of a person can also experience mental or emotional discomfort. A substance abuse counselor helps patients in overcoming their obsessive dependence on alcohol and drugs. At times, depending on the health of the patient, a substance abuse counselor also has the liberty to include the patient’s family and friends into treatment to help him/her recover better.
To become a Substance Abuse Counselor you’ll need to pursue a master’s degree in psychology and a certification in substance abuse counseling.
Marriage and Family Therapist
Though this isn’t a much-liked profession by many since a majority of Indians believe that ‘matters of a family must stay within the four walls of the house’, many have also started opening up and seeking up from professionals who practice such a profession. A marriage/relationship/family counselor is someone who guides a couple or members of the family who face issues or are at conflict with each other, thereby reducing the emotional discomfort they experience. It is this counselor that ensures your mental wellness doesn’t get disturbed due to your relationship issues. You can also choose to become a sex therapist.
To become a certified marriage and family therapist, you need a master’s degree and at least 2 years of experience.
Before you start practicing, you will need a certificate and license that permits you to carry out treatments and therapy.