Mental Health Job Opportunities Blog


Working in Mental Health

By ACS Distance Education on October 25, 2022 in Health & Psychology and Counselling | comments
Mental health offers a wider range of career opportunities than you might think.It's natural to think of the main mental health jobs being counsellors and psychologists, but in reality most people who work in mental health will be in roles beyond these. Mental health offers a wider range of career opportunities than you might think. Many other job options have only emerged in recent years - but they are becoming more widely accepted.  

Why Work in Mental Health?

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. 

  • Newer therapies are contributing to the range of mental health services.
  • Mental health is increasingly considered more holistically.
  • Complimentary therapies and preventative initiatives are more accepted than they once were
  • They provide alternatives for people who have tried traditional medication and talking therapies. 

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.    

The Rewards 

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.

  • Some people who have never had mental health problems before, have succumbed to them.  
  • Some of those with pre-existing conditions have deteriorated.
  • Other people who don’t have a mental health disorder have needed help with anxiety or stress. 

Thisput the health system under strain.
 A shortage of mental health professionals means that many people who need help are unable to get it. 

  • Others are having to wait an extremely long time to get help. 
  • Some mental health practitioners have had to close their books to new clients.  

Skills Shortage

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:

  • Horticulture therapy – the use of plants and gardening activities in different settings to help people cope with stress, mental health issues, or recuperation from physical illness, surgery, or accidents.      
  • Ecotherapy – therapy that can involve the use of plants, animals, or natural objects in indoor and outdoor settings from parks to wilderness areas.   
  • Play therapy – therapy that encourages expression of mental health problems through guided play which can work for some groups of adults as well as children. 
  • Creative therapies – uses drama, music, art, dance, or other creative activities to encourage expression of mental health problems and promote health and wellbeing.
  • Pet therapy – animal-assisted therapy for people of all ages which can help with mental and physical health issues.
  • Aromatherapy – often used in conjunction with massage to relieve stress and muscle tightness.
    Some other related professions are more concerned with promoting good habits and lifestyles to encourage people to make the most of themselves which might help them not to succumb to mental health problems. These include:
  • Life coaching – encourages people to fulfill their potential in different areas of their lives and to make better lifestyle choices.  
  • Wellness coaching – considers all aspects of a person’s life which contribute to their overall sense of wellness.
  • Food coaching – focuses on how diet and wellness are interlinked and seeks to encourage healthier eating.
  • Sports coaching – encourages participation in sports and helps improve the performance of individual athletes and teams including children, disabled, professional, or amateur athletes.

Are You Considering a Career in Mental Health Care or Support?

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:

  • Want to get a taste of working in mental health.
  • Want to help others with mental health problems.
  • Wish to continue professional development in mental health.

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.  


Need Help with Your Study Options?

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.   
See some of the courses we offer on this site -CLICK HERE