Careers in Mental Health

  • Added:
    Nov 13, 2012
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The mental health industry is starting to gain some recognition on the federal level. This means that insurance companies are going to cover more mental health services. Because of this, the employment opportunities in this field are going to be more numerous.

Mental Health Technician
A mental health technician is a position that often requires no formal training. Technicians can be certified, but most employers do not require it. These positions provide the most patient contact and the broadest range of responsibilities. Mental health technicians document patient behavior, moderate groups, and are often the best source of information when it comes to daily patient interactions and behaviors.

Psychiatric Nurse
Though any nurse can work in the field of psychology, there are those who actually specialize in this field in order to provide better patient care. The psychiatric nurse is responsible for monitoring physiological functions, administering medications, observing the patient for reactions to medication, and offering educational services concerning health and hygiene.

A therapist is someone who is normally licensed and may even hold a specialty license so that they can focus on one area of mental health. They hold one-to-one sessions, run groups, and assist with changing behavior patterns. The therapist documents all sessions and behaviors in order to provide the treatment team with information concerning patient progress.

The primary function of the psychologist is to use testing and non-medical information in order to create  treatment plan to treat the patient using various techniques that do not involve medication. It is the psychologist who administers and interprets psychological tests and data. The psychologist has sessions and groups, but on a less frequent basis than the therapist.

A psychiatrist holds a degree in medicine as well as a degree in psychology. While the psychologist does not prescribe medication, but does review and interpret psychological tests, the psychiatrist does not review psychological tests, but does prescribe medication. The primary function of the psychiatrist is to connect medical data with psychological and behavioral data in order to treat medical issues such as a chemical imbalance or an inherited disorder.

There are other mental health positions, but the ones listed above are the main careers for those who are interested in working in mental health. Every state has its own licensing requirements in all areas, and some states have no educational or licensing requirements for professional positions such as therapists.

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