How to: get a job in mental health care

*This is a collaborative post

Mental health has become the defining crisis of our age and, as the pandemic increased our collective sense of anxiety and depression, the schisms and crises it causes are giving no signs of slowing. 

According to Young Minds, 80% of young people with mental health needs agreed that the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse, while one in six children aged five to 16 were identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2020, an increase from one in nine in 2017. 

The statistics in adults are similarly stark. The Scottish charity SAMH reports that ‘almost half of people with mental health problems in Scotland felt they did not get care or treatment because of the pandemic.’

The need for greater healthcare provision in young people is simultaneously increasing the demand for mental health professionals. The British Medical Association (BMA) has noted that shortages in the workforce are impacting staff workload, wellbeing, morale and the ability for staff to provide good quality of care.

As the mental health crisis worsens, so too will the need to hire more qualified staff. If you think you can help make a difference as part of a workforce in dire need of replenishment, these are some of the steps you can take. 

Find the right degree

There are many training opportunities in the field of mental health, and a large proportion of them can be completed from home. One of the prime examples of this is Anglia Ruskin University’s Mental Health MSc which is designed to allow students to study at times that suit them. 

These courses can be completed within one to two years and prepare you for work in mental health settings, with modules on collaborative mental health care, specialist mental health care, contemporary issues in mental health care and research methodology. 

By the end of your course, you’ll be ready to tackle a large variety of mental health-focused professions. 

Explore your career options

You may have a grand notion of what working in mental health entails, imagining jobs in clinical psychology or psychotherapy. But this is a broad field requiring many skill levels. 

Jobs in mental health include substance abuse counselling, social work, nursing, psychology and more – each of these can be a valuable lifeline for a person in crisis. 

Before deciding that you’re not qualified enough for a particular position, be sure to take a look at the field as a whole. There could be a role that you’re the perfect fit for. 

Work experience

Volunteering for mental health charities will not only give you valuable experience for your CV, but also offers an opportunity for you to explore the hands-on elements of mental health work and decide if this is the career for you. 

Volunteer for a charity like Mind, SAMH or Turning Point, and you’ll understand the variety of skills, empathy and dedication required for the job of your dreams.

Those were our tips on how you can break into a job in the mental health sector. If you have any tips of your own, let us know in the comments section.

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