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Should I Choose a Career in Mental Health?

Conversations about mental health are becoming more common and open. This is a welcome change. Lately, we see improved awareness, reduced stigma, and increased demand associated with mental health resources. 

Millions of people receive mental and behavioral health services annually. Professionals in this industry work in various roles to facilitate their clients' personal well-being and development.

A common thread these careers all share is a dedication to helping others, making them some of the most admirable potential pathways to achieve fulfilling long-term careers.

Let’s explore the qualities that suggest a career in mental health might be right for you.

A Knack for Giving Back

Are you passionate about helping people? Maybe you’re a natural caregiver in life. Perhaps people often turn to you for advice and support when they're struggling.

You may have all the qualities required for a career in this field.

Multiple professions exist for those who wish to pursue different careers in mental health, but the driving force motivating the majority of these professionals is feeling fulfilled by helping others.

If giving back comes naturally to you, and you’re sincerely satisfied when you’re making a positive difference, a career in mental health could be right for you.

Real Human Interest

In the in-demand field of mental health, professionals tend to be authentically interested in human behavior and fascinated by the mind's inner workings. This goes hand-in-hand with much of the work done in this industry.

The mind is a complex, ever-changing organ. Understanding how we think and form behaviors is integral to working in mental health, so these jobs are generally best suited for those intrigued by cognitive and behavioral subjects.

Mental health careers are perfect for anyone fascinated by exploring the brain, conducting extensive research and behavioral studies, and making a difference in people's lives.

If you’d be happy to embark on an endless learning journey of discovery surrounding the brain and human behavior, a mental health position could be the most gratifying career choice you ever make.

Patience & Compassion

Those who naturally succeed in mental health careers usually possess great patience and a sincere sense of compassion. These qualities are needed to work productively in behavioral and mental health-based professions.

Patiently listening and providing empathetic support are significant elements of succeeding in mental health careers. Clients will have experienced a vast range of struggles in their lives, and you'll be responsible for helping them confront, understand, and process these struggles in a healthy way.

It’s impossible to grasp someone else’s unique experience entirely, but respectfully attempting to understand them as much as possible is essential to building stable and trusting client relationships.

Observing people making gradual, non-linear progress calls for a great deal of patience. Mental health professionals benefit from understanding what it means to receive therapy as well as to give help.

If you’re a self-aware, caring listener who easily empathizes with others, this industry may be at the core of your calling.

An Excellent Communicator

Is communication your strong suit? Exceptional communication skills are a must for success in mental health careers. This is required to interact positively, problem-solve, and collaborate with clients and colleagues.

These professionals must be highly adaptable to the evolving demands of their communication-heavy jobs. For instance, they must gracefully handle difficult conversations and sensitive subject matter regularly.

It also helps to be detail-oriented and a diligent note-taker, capable of keeping all that’s shared in total confidence.

If you’re trustworthy, get along well with others, and can communicate sensitive issues delicately, you're perfectly suited to this career path.

Perceptive & Intuitive

While being a strong verbal communicator and a great listener are certainly valuable assets for any mental health professional, there’s a lot more to succeeding in these careers when it comes to communication.

It’s not uncommon for mental health clients to withhold information. This isn't a problem—it's a reason to focus on something. The most skilled mental health professionals can observe the face value of a situation and the contextual indications.

It’s also useful to be extra perceptive of body language and non-verbal communication. If intuition and perception are among your personal skills, they would certainly come in handy while working in mental health.

Does noticing what goes unsaid usually come naturally to you? You could thrive in this career path!

No Judgment

When you work in this field, it’s necessary to remain non-judgmental. Individuals seen by mental health professionals have often endured disturbing events or made questionable choices, so they need to feel safe to share without fear of judgment. 

Everyone’s life circumstances are distinct, and mental health work inevitably exposes employees to a vast range of human actions and experiences. Therefore, practicing objective acceptance for others is a major facet of mental health careers.

Countless factors are constantly affecting everyone, so fairly accounting for socioeconomic, cultural, and other known variables is a must for ethically helping people in mental health settings.

If you tend to see the good in those around you and aren’t usually critical of others, then these career paths may be a smart avenue.

Find Your Role

There are many options for different career paths within the field of mental health—you can find the perfect path for your skillset when you work with Jackson House. 

Once you’ve acknowledged you possess these qualities, the next step is to conduct further research on which jobs may best utilize your personal skills and most appropriately apply your own specific interests.

Noticing a natural passion for helping others and curiosity about mental processes is a great starting point. Being an open-minded and patient hard worker and a trustworthy, perceptive communicator is also extremely beneficial.

Last but not least, being resilient is important, as these careers are certainly not without challenges. This is a big part of what makes it so deeply rewarding for those who excel in mental health professions.

If you're prepared for the challenge and ready to put your natural skills to use, Jackson House can get you started. Visit our careers page to learn more

It's time to feel better

We are here to help and we are in-network with most insurance providers. Call us for a free and confidential consultation.

If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (888) 255-9280. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.