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Want to Pursue a Career In Mental Health? Here's What You Need to Know: 

Mental health professionals offer services of care to people living with mental health disorders. They help by assessing, advising and bettering an individual's mental state and/or contributing to studies in the field of mental health.

The number of people suffering from mental health has never been higher. Professionals qualified in these areas are sought after with many more services and organisations continually opening each year.

Is the Mental Health Field Right For You?

If you talk more than you listen and you don't believe in what you can't see, then a career in understanding and assessing mental health probably isn't your best bet. Mental health is a patient based role that requires critical communication skills as well as specific personality components to progress in this job.

Having patience, empathy and possessing an open mind should always be demonstrated when employed within in the mental healthcare profession. You will be working with people experiencing various levels of discomfort that require the above traits to assist them in the success of their treatment.

Other crucial skills needed include the ability to observe and spot emotions before they implode and defuse; problem-solving; competency; compassion; commitment; good judgement and the ability to offer advice. Possessing these skills will ensure you a credible and prosperous future in the mental healthcare industry.

Job Opportunities

If you're considering a career in the mental healthcare profession, here are some facts and figures worth knowing:

  • The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) estimates that around $8.5 billion per annum is spent on mental health-related services in Australia. Services include residential and community services, hospital-based services (both inpatient and outpatient), and consultation with specialists and general practitioners.
  • Mental Health workers can expect to earn between AU$46,094 - AU$73,698
  • Councillors in mental health currently stand to earn AU$40,888 - AU$90,913
  • Future growth in the mental health industry for jobs is very strong

Types of Courses

There are a few different directions you can take to kick-start your career or further your education in mental health. Just deciding what's best suited to you is the place to start. What is it you wish to achieve in the industry? Do you directly want to advise people about their mental health issues or assist in helping them to manage their symptoms?

Here is a short overview of the variety of courses on offer and a description of what they entail:

Short Courses

There are many short courses in mental health to consider when pursuing a career in this industry: learning the key skills in managing mental illness with emphasis on clinical applicability and evidence-based or on the more focalised topic of women's mental health learning about trauma and endocrinology as factors in developing mental disorders.

Certificate in Integrative Mental Health

This qualification provides emphasis on the alternative therapies used to treat mental health conditions with a strong focus on the mind, body and spirit and how paired with the right medications can be an effective treatment.

Certificate IV in Mental Health

This course will provide you with the knowledge and skill in helping with the recovery of people with mental health and psychiatric disability. You will be conducting mental health focused activities within a community based setting and working in non-government organisations, centre-based programs, respite care, residential services, rehabilitation programs, home based outreach, clinical settings, or supporting people in employment.

This course is to be completed over a year with 80 hours of autonomous work under the guidance of professionals and practitioners being mandatory to completion of the qualification.

Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work

This Certificate IV in mental health differs from the other Certificates by reflecting the role of workers who have experienced mental illness themselves or in another person, working in mental health to assist their peers in government, public or private facilities within the community.

Career Outcomes

A career in mental health could see you supporting patients as a health care assistant or counselling them on how to overcome disorders, here are some prospective job titles:

  • Grief Counsellor
  • Family and Marriage Counsellor
  • Mental Health Support Worker
  • Social Worker
  • Case Manager
  • Career Advisor
  • School Counsellor

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