Studies & Degrees in Mental Health
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Mental Health Study Programs
When talking about mental health, we refer to the emotional and mental well-being of people. This is why mental health professionals are health care practitioners, who offer various services that contribute to improving the individual’s mental health, or help them with the treatment of mental illness. Such specialists include psychiatrists, clinical social workers, mental health counselors, psychiatric nurses, clinical psychologists, and many other professionals.
Consequently, there are many roles that a mental health professional can play in the lives of people, who are suffering from mental health disorders. They may try to diagnose, or determine, the problem that a person is suffering from, but this often involves a long process of analysis and observation. Depending on their qualification, a mental health professional could also strive to help the person deal with the problem. Treatment can involve both medication and non-drug techniques, like art therapy for example. Still, there are cases in which no known cures exist and a person’s condition can only be managed or kept under some limits at best. Some mental health professionals could also work with a whole group of people (i.e. families, couples) in order to help them improve their relationship or deal with family-specific problems. In some cases, the help of a number of mental health specialists from different fields is required and used.
To work in the field of mental health, you need to be exceptionally stable mentally yourself. Some other qualities include:
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Outstanding interpersonal qualities
- Very good analytical skills
- Ability to find and solve problems
- Be patient, tolerant, and caring
- Non-judgmental nature
Mental Health Studies courses are usually offered at the graduate and postgraduate level, and have a number of prerequisite requirements. Most of them set the minimum standard by requiring a bachelor degree in health, mental health nursing, social work, health care or social care or equivalent as well as relevant work experience. In most cases, references are also asked for – to support the provided information about the individual’s education and experience.
A master’s or a postgraduate degree in mental health usually involves various areas of specialization, examples of which are Art Therapy, Psychotherapy, Family Therapy, Community Mental Health, and similar. The teaching staff responsible for your degree is of uppermost importance when it comes to mental health – therefore, be sure to check that the faculty in your chosen institution are highly experienced practitioners and/or researchers. You should expect to receive training in a variety of evidence based interventions as well as to be taught the theoretical principles that underpin them.
There are a great number of settings, where mental health professionals could find employment in a developed society. These include asylums, penitentiaries, and community health centers. When a mental health professional works in a facility such as a hospital or community health center, he or she may deal with a range of problems such as depression, schizophrenia, and obsessive compulsive disorder. She may also deal with a wide range of patients.
On the other hand, there are some mental health professionals, who prefer to specialize. They may do this by only concentrating on certain disorders, or they may choose to do this by restricting their services to certain type of patients. For example, a child psychologist does not usually attend to the needs of adults.