Mental health work can be very flexible.
There are opportunities for people to work for themselves. There are also opportunities to work for organisations, clinics, hospitals, and health practices.
During the covid pandemic, telehealth has become more mainstream. All that is needed for this is a mobile phone and a video app. So, mental health workers can provide their service to anyone, anywhere.
The scope of mental health services has expanded.
But working in mental health doesn’t just have to be about providing a specific mental health service. There are many adjunct roles like massage therapist, occupational therapist, aromatherapist, speech therapist, etc.
People in these sorts of jobs might work directly with mental health workers from a health practice, or they might form part of a broader team of helpers.
Working in mental health is incredibly fulfilling. Far more so than many careers.
There is tremendous satisfaction in helping a fellow human to overcome problems caused by mental health issues. This is not usually something which happens overnight, so there is a chance to build relationships with clients or patients.
Often the work requires individuals to think on their feet, use problem-solving, work with family members, liaise with other health professionals, and be part of a multidisciplinary team.
Many of the skills learnt working in mental health are transferable to other roles such as teaching, aged care, or coaching.
Workers do need to protect themselves from stress and burnout, so having good working relationships and social support is important.
Pay is variable. It largely depends on the specific role and whether it is in private practice or a public position.
Demand for Mental Health Services
The covid pandemic saw a surge in the number of people seeking help for mental health issues.
Thisput the health system under strain.
A shortage of mental health professionals means that many people who need help are unable to get it.
The availability of skilled mental health workers has shrunk since the pandemic began. This is in part due to a lack of skilled migration and international students. Also, some skilled workers have returned overseas to their home country.
Since it takes time for people to train and build skills in mental health, it is likely that there will be a lack of skilled mental health workers for some time to come.
There have been calls from the industry to invest more in skill development of those who reside in Australia rather than merely relying on migrant workers to fill the gap.
Some of this skill development can be attained through shorter training courses. Such courses can also help with skill development of those already working in mental health.
Besides the more mainstream roles like psychologist, counsellor, or psychiatric nurse, there are many other jobs where people provide mental health services.
Alternative therapies that can be helpful include:
If you think you might want to work in a role where you can offer care or support to individuals with mental health problems, a possible way of going about it might look something like this:
Step 1 – Volunteer some of your time.
There are different ways to look for volunteer work.
Try approaching some self-help groups to see if you can help them out somehow.
There are also opportunities for people to volunteer to help through organisations like Lifeline, Beyond Blue, or crisis counselling hotlines.
So long as you can commit for a period, you might be provided with training in telephone counselling.
Step 2 – Do some formal study.
There are many online courses in mental health which can provide knowledge and training in a range of areas.
These are suitable for people who:
Step 3 – Apply for part-time positions.
There are often opportunities for part-time work.
Try contacting not-for-profit organisations. Many of these organisations such as the Black Dog Institute are designed to provide help and support to individuals with specific types of disorders, as well as their families.
They are often in need of part-time staff to help with workloads.
Speak to some alternative therapists. They might need help with organising venues, materials, or supervising clients.
Even if the work is more of an administration type, just being immersed in a healthcare setting, or amongst healthcare clients, provides invaluable experience.
Step 4 - Look for full-time work.
Once you have some experience and study under your belt, the next step is to look for a full-time position.
Full-time work can be found through private practices or public healthcare settings.
Those of you who wish to work for themselves might also be ready to make the move into providing a full-time service. Alternatively, you might be able to tag along with someone in private practice until you have learnt the ropes.
With a broad range of mental health courses on offer, we can help you with your study needs.
Why not get in touch with us today and chat with one of our friendly course advisors who can help you make the right choice.
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