Mental health is a major but still somewhat silent issue in our country. It is estimated that a whopping 46.4% of all Americans will suffer some type of mental illness at some point during their lives. This means that the country will be in great need of mental health professionals in the next coming years.
There has also been a shift in the way things like drug abuse are approached. It is now increasingly being viewed and treated as a public and mental health problem. This could further increase the demand for mental health professionals in the near future. If you feel like you could help, here are some of the signs that you were made for a career in mental health.
You Don’t See Issues as Black and White
Mental health comes with a lot of ambiguity. Every case is different because every mind is different. People may be suffering from multiple disorders at once but at various levels. You may also get conflicting responses from some of the people you deal with.
If you’re too rigid in your thinking, you might have a hard time in mental health because there are no hard-set rules. You will need to have a certain level of flexibility and be able to read between the lines to see what patients are actually trying to tell you.
You may also have to adapt treatments depending on your observations. If you have trouble adapting to different situations and work better when you can apply one set of rules for everything, then you might want to reconsider a career in mental health.
You Are Willing and Eager to Learn
There’s always something to learn in the world of mental health and psychology. The more you are willing to integrate new skills, the more opportunities will open themselves to you, and the more of an impact you’ll be able to make on patients and the field in general.
A great way to enter the field would be to start in social work and then work your way up to something like mental health counseling. All that is required is a Master of Science in Education Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which you can get online from a school like Saint Bonaventure University. They offer a flexible program that could work as a pathway to higher-level mental health positions like neuropsychologist or clinical psychologist.
You Embrace Change
If you not only deal well with change, but embrace it, mental health is a perfect field for you. You will have to deal with constant changes in legislation, treatments, techniques, and procedures. You will need to be able to adapt yourself not only for the sake of your clients but also for the organizations you work with. This is also where a willingness to learn will help you become a better asset.
You Have an Open Mind
Being open-minded is another very valuable trait to have when working in mental health. You have to be able to see beyond the person that is before you and bypass your prejudices.
Good psychologists, counselors, and social workers can look at some of the social, cultural, and economic factors that might be affecting someone’s behavior. This is the only way that you’ll be able to truly help the people you work with and not only move them through the system.
Another sign that you may be made for this field is if you’re not quick to judge people – even those who may have done reprehensible acts in the past. You may have to deal with criminals in your line of work, or abusive partners. People dealing with substance abuse may tell you things that will shock you. However, you still have to be able to put all those things to the side and focus on helping your patients deal with their issues.
You’re Efficient and Have Great Attention to Detail
No matter what position you’ll be working in in mental health, you will have to deal with paperwork, and lots of it. You’ll have to be able to create systems to organize it, and if you have a natural sense of organization, this field could be perfect for you.
There are many tricks of the trade that will allow you to manage all that documentation better. You might have to start getting familiar with things like voice to text, concurrent documentation, and how to create rough document drafts through Word, among others.
You’re a Great Team Worker
In this field, you will often have to work as part of a team either as a leader or a member. Being efficient and able to manage multiple moving parts will be very important.
You may have to supervise or be part of a team consisting of clinicians, nurses, case managers, vocational workers, and assistants. Being able to manage all these different professionals requires a special type of individual, and if you have always been known as a great team member or leader, this is a sign that mental health could be your calling.
Empathy is also very important in the mental health field, but it can also be a double-edged sword. You can’t let the cases you come across at work haunt you at night, and being able to create clear barriers between work and your regular life is very important.
If you’re the first one to console people in your peer group and are known as the “rock” of your family, you may have just the right dose of empathy to work in mental health. You have to be able to care enough about patients to delve deeper into their issues and genuinely connect with them, but not to the point that it starts affecting your well-being.
These are all signs that you could be perfect for a career in mental health. The industry is in great need of dedicated professionals right now, and, if you have the skills and a genuine interest in the field, we suggest you start researching it today.