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Why the Mental Health Field Needs More Workers Than Ever

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to alter our daily routines and even caused some drastic changes. As a result, it has affected millions of individuals’ mental health. According to surveys, there is an increase in depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. 

Those who suffer from a mental illness are more likely to succumb to alcohol or substance abuse. As a result, more and more people need the help of trained mental health workers. 

Today, we will look at some of the reasons mental health workers are more important than ever. Then, we will see the benefits of a career in the mental health field. 

Current Mental Health Risks 

Most individuals’ lives’ have changed in one way or another due to the pandemic. Even households that have not experienced illness have had to adjust their way of living and routines. The following factors put individuals worldwide at an increased risk for mental illness. 

Isolation and Separation from Loved Ones

Some schools have switched to online courses, so students stay at home for the entire school year. While this does decrease their risk of becoming ill, it puts young ones at risk for mental health issues. The absence of social interaction and feelings of isolation may cause many young ones to become depressed. 

Moreover, older adults are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. This makes it necessary for them to practice social distancing and quarantine themselves. 

The elderly may no longer see their loved ones or friends, hoping to keep themselves safe. Yet, limited social interactions lead to increased feelings of anxiety and loneliness. 

Job Loss and Insecurity

Many individuals have lost their jobs since the start of the pandemic, causing them to feel insecure about their future. Those who lose their jobs are at risk for depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. There is also a correlation between increased unemployment and suicide rates.

Burnout and Strain on Frontline Workers

Hospitals around the country are at their limit and have an increased number of patients. Frontline workers report adverse side effects. These include difficulty sleeping, overeating, increased anxiety, and depression among health care workers.

Increased Health Risks

Individuals with chronic illness are at an increased risk of COVID-19. Thus, those with heart or lung disease, diabetes, or asthma are more likely to worry about their safety. While their concerns are valid, constant worrying leads to stress and poor mental health

Due to the uncertain circumstances caused by the pandemic, alcohol or substance abuse is on the rise. Thus, the pandemic has increased the need for more mental health workers. Even after the pandemic, those with mental illnesses will need the care that only trained professionals can give. 

Benefits of Careers in the Mental Health Field

There are many benefits to working in the mental health field. Those with a friendly personality and a passion for helping others will find it especially rewarding. 

At times, they may help individuals who have gone through traumatic situations or events to recover. They also assist those who have an addiction or substance abuse to avoid relapse. 

Patients can heal thanks to the help of mental health workers. Since mental health workers make a difference every day, their job gives them a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

Mental health workers should be patient and calm because they will treat distressed individuals. They should also be good listeners, reliable, and responsible. Working with patients experiencing mental illness is easier when they have these traits. 

Jobs in the Mental Health Field

Those considering a career in the mental health field can choose from a variety of professions. Here are some of the most popular jobs in the mental health care field. 

Clinical or Counseling Psychologist

Phycologists work with individuals who have behavioral, mental, or emotional disorders. They can diagnose the illness and work with the patient to treat it. Psychologists have a Ph.D. or degree in psychology, which takes at least eight years of college or more to complete. 

Marriage and Family Therapist 

Therapists help individuals overcome issues in their relationships. Even if these are the result of mental illness or disorders, a therapist can help. Family and marriage therapists must have master’s degrees and documented work experience hours.

Clinical Social Worker 

A clinical social worker works with those who have mental disorders. They provide them with an appropriate treatment plan. Sometimes they treat patients in group sessions. Usually, clinical social workers have master’s degrees in the field. 


Psychiatrists specialize in treating psychiatric disorders. Since they are physicians, they have to complete four years of medical school after earning a bachelor’s degree. 

Psychiatrists usually do a four-year residency. Then, they must earn their license to practice. 

Substance Use Disorder Counselor

These professionals offer alcohol and drug abuse counseling to those recovering from addiction. They work with social services to help individuals focus on their recovery. 

They also aid them with the techniques they need to avoid a relapse. To become a substance use disorder counselor, you will need to check the requirements of your state.  In California, to become a substance abuse counselor, you must attend a program approved by California certifying bodies such as CAADE and CCAPP. Many individuals do receive training through certificate programs or associate’s degree programs. 

Behavioral Health Assistant

Behavioral Health assistants use their skills to assist those with mental illness. They help people to develop essential skills and manage their condition. 

This career is an excellent option for those who cannot attend years of college. Individuals can study it in a certificate program in less than a year. 

Start Your Rewarding Career in the Mental Health Field

Without a doubt, the need for mental health workers is increasing. While it takes years to get the necessary degree for some mental health field jobs, others need only minimal training. 

If you would like to learn about training for a mental health field profession, look no further than InterCoast. We offer degrees and certificate programs that will help jumpstart your career in a variety of careers. Browse our programs online and contact us today for more information! 

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