When we think about careers in mental health and behavioral health, the usual suspects like therapists or child & family protective services come to mind. These are undoubtedly noble and essential paths. But what about the roads less traveled in this field? How do we find them, and more importantly, how do we start walking down them?
My journey into mental health was fueled by life experience. Maybe your motivation is similar, or perhaps it's the opposite - a drive to be there for others because you had to face challenges alone. Whatever your reason, knowing where to begin is the first step.
A World of Opportunities
The mental/behavioral health field is rich with diverse career options. Here are just a few to consider, each with its unique role in supporting mental well-being:
Mental Health Technician
Child Behavioral Health Specialist
Sexual Assault Victim Advocate
Elementary/Secondary School Counselor
Diversity & Inclusion Officer
Mental Health Researcher
School Social Worker
Forensic Social Worker
Professional Sports Social Worker/Therapist/Counselor
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Charting Your Course
Once you find a role that resonates with you, the next step is understanding the path to get there. For counseling roles, for example, you might start by visiting your state’s counseling board’s website. This applies to other fields like Marriage and Family Therapy, Social Work, Nursing, Physician, and Drug & Alcohol counseling. These resources will help you outline what’s needed for your chosen path - typically a graduate degree, supervised hours, and an exam.
Here are a few starting points:
A Journey Together
If you would like me delve deeper into these career paths in my next post, leave a comment! Until then, I invite you to share your thoughts or experiences in this field. What drew you to mental health? What are your aspirations? Your stories can inspire and guide others.
Stay tuned, and remember, every step you take is a move towards helping someone in need.
Until next time, stay motivated!