Why You Should Work in Mental Health Jobs

posted by Chris Valentine

Mental health jobs are some of the most rewarding careers that you could go into, but they can also be very challenging. It takes the right people for the role who are caring, empathetic, sensitive and understanding. The education stage of these jobs can be lengthy and take lots of dedication.

You will learn a wealth of skills throughout this career and it has many benefits. Before we get into what these benefits are, we need to list some of the different mental health jobs you can go into.

Mental Health Jobs – The Roles

Mental Health Nurse

The role of a mental health nurse is to provide care and assistance to patients in mental health hospitals and intensive care units, outpatients units and units specialising with eating disorders. They have to make relationships with their patients, give them their medication and advise them on therapy and other activities.

No two days are the same and the tasks you will have to do will vary, but it is thought to be very fast-paced and focused work. As a mental health nurse, you will have to be ready to react to an emergency such as someone trying to hurt themselves or a medical issue.

The salary for mental health nurses starts at around 24k to 30k but can progress to 30-40k.

Psychiatrist or Therapist

Psychiatrists are medically qualified doctors. They can prescribe medication and diagnose any mental health issues. They will also treat them with medication and provide them with therapy.

Therapists can diagnose and treat mental health disorders, but they cannot prescribe medication. Both of these roles help people recover from mental disorders and will work with a variety of different diagnoses.

For qualified speciality doctors their salary can be between 40-70k and for psychiatrist consultants they can earn over 70k. The salaries are high to reflect the large amount of experience that these individuals have.


Counsellors are not as qualified as therapists or psychiatrists, but they provide support to individuals and guide them to services like therapy if needed. They can also help them to find ways to increase their self-help. Counselling is normally short term and is usually based on talking with individuals and guiding them in the right direction.

There are counsellors for many things, not just mental health so there is wide range of options If you are interested in this career area.

There are many more mental health jobs, but these are some of the most common.

Benefits of Mental Health Jobs

High Job Security

Those working in mental health jobs have a high job security. This is due to them being in high demand. There are not enough qualified professionals for the high number of people with mental health issues in the UK.

You can be assured that if you study for a career in this area then you will always be offered work and there is the potential to transfer your job position to similar roles throughout your career.

You Will Gain a Wealth of Skills

Working in mental health will provide you with great leadership skills. You will be taking lead of a patient’s mental health and ensuring that they have all the help that they can get. You may also be leading the rest of the team once you have a few years of experience.

In addition, you will strengthen your communication skills and build on your confidence.

When you work in any of the above roles you will increase your emotional intelligence and be able to recognise feelings and emotions and in turn be able to ask the appropriate questions and provide the right support.

You Have New Challenges Everyday

Many mental health jobs throw up unexpected challenges on a daily basis, especially if you work as a mental health nurse. Although this can cause stress it is very rewarding when you are able to respond to the situation and solve a problem.

These kind of jobs will never be boring, and you will be kept on your toes. It is beneficial for those who dislike the office working environment. However, do note that many of these roles do require a great deal of paperwork.

You Can Change Lives

One of the most beneficial things about working to help others is that you could be the difference to a person’s life. You may have had some struggles before yourself and know how much therapy and support helped you. It can completely change a person’s life and watching that happen whilst also being a part of it is so rewarding.

How to Get a Mental Health Job?

If you like the sound of any of the jobs listed and the benefits have persuaded you to try and progress into the area, you need to know a few tips for getting a job in the UK. You will need qualifications and experience but most of all you need to show your passion for this type of work.

For a mental health nurse, you need a degree in mental health nursing which is approved by Nursing and Midwifery Council in the UK. For roles outside the UK you would have to research which degrees will be suitable.

For psychiatry, the education process is especially long. You will first have to complete a 5-year degree in medicine, followed by 2 years of training, then you will need to complete 3 core years in psychiatry training and 3 years in a speciality.

For a counsellor you may need a diploma level qualification, but you will do much less training than in the related fields.

Essential Skills

Now that we have talked about qualifications, we need to discuss the essential skills required for the role. You will need:

  • Empathy
  • Listen well
  • Communicate efficiently
  • Trustworthy
  • Reliable

All of these skills would be beneficial to talk about in interviews. One of the most important things about being in this kind of work is that you possess the right sort of characteristics. It is also about trying to understand clients and patients’ problems and to motivate them to get better.

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