What It’s Like Being a Mental Health Professional

The positives and the challenges of working with mental illness

Mental health is one of the most exciting fields in medicine. We are constantly accepting and discovering new aspects of mental illness.

Whether patients are suffering from lifetime problems or going through a temporary problem, mental health professional can help to greatly improve the quality of life of their patients.

The United State of Mental Health

Approximately 50% of Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their life. The actual amount of people is likely to be higher due to the social stigma surrounding the topic. Many cases go undiagnosed or unreported.

A Difficult Job

Mental health professionals will listen to stories and feelings that are truly difficult to hear. Patients may struggle from drug abuse or sexual trauma or violence, and the job of the mental health professional is to listen.

This career requires a strong mental fortitude in addition to the determination to keep up with the most recent research in the mental health field.

As a trained professional, you provide this type of care in a safe environment. The methods you learn can help patients identify the source of their turmoil, and you can even provide advice on how to alleviate their suffering.

For this challenging work, mental health professionals can earn over $70,000/year, depending on the position.

A Positive Impact

Mental health professionals contribute greatly to the quality of life of patients. The brain is a complex organ, and from this organ, all feelings and happiness are derived.

Those in the mental health field are also able to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and encourage others to do so.

There are many occupations in the mental health field, so let’s take a look at two of the most well-known positions: psychiatrist and psychologist.

Differences between a Psychiatrist and Psychologist

In general, psychiatrists are responsible for diagnosing mental illness and disease, due to internal factors (such as heredity) and external factors (such as addiction). Psychiatrists are medical doctors, and many patients go to see them when they require prescriptions, which may require contact with a primary care physician.

The period of studying to become a psychiatrist takes roughly 12 years. In return, medical students that complete the journey are rewarded with an annual salary of over $200,000 on average.

Psychologists on the other hand help patients deal primarily with mental illness due to external factors. Their primary tools are counseling and therapy sessions. Patients will often work more regularly with psychologists, compared to their visits with psychiatrists.

Psychologists are able to go from earning a bachelor’s degree to working in the field in under a decade. For their efforts, psychologists earn about $70,000 a year.