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Careers in Mental Health in 2023 and Beyond

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The need is acute: The National Institute of Mental Health estimated that in 2021, one in five adults in the United States were living with mental illness. Mental health issues are becoming more prevalent in our society. A career in providing mental health services will lead to a lifetime of meaningful work. 

Explore: Mental Health Professions Are On The Rise

There has been a significant increase in demand for mental health professionals in the past several years. In fact, the need for mental health professionals is projected to grow 22 percent from 2021 to 2031, a much faster rate than the average for all occupations. 

There are many factors that have contributed to the increased profession occupancy, including:

  • Covid-19: The pandemic imposed mental stress on individuals through grief, fear, job loss, financial and emotional distress, and the loss of social and physical connection.

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  • Greater awareness and acceptance of mental health issues: There is now a greater understanding of mental health as an essential component of overall well-being, as anxiety, depression, and substance abuse have become more prevalent in society, leading to an increase in the number of people seeking mental health services and a demand for mental health professionals.
  • Availability of mental health services: Mental health services are now more widely available and accessible to people than in the past, thanks to advancements in technology and telehealth.
    Rejuvenated investment in mental health infrastructure: the 2010 Affordable Care Act required insurers to pay for the treatment of mental health conditions such as addiction, autism, bipolar disorder, depression and eating disorders in the same way they paid for physical health care. This has opened up many more opportunities for clinicians to receive fees for service.
  • Reduced stigma: Stigma surrounding mental health issues has decreased over time, leading more people to seek treatment without fear of being judged or ostracized.
  • Growing demand for specialized care: Mental health issues have become increasingly complex, and many people require specialized care from trained mental health professionals.

As a result of these factors, the mental health profession will continue to grow in the coming years, with a need for trained professionals to meet the increasing demand for mental health services. This presents an excellent opportunity for those interested in pursuing a career in mental health. Explore a few careers below that will continue to have open positions in 2023 and beyond.

Mental Health Professionals

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 11 percent employment growth for licensed mental health professionals between 2021 and 2031, meaning an estimated 13,300 jobs should open up.

To pursue a career as a mental health professional, you will need to complete a master's degree program in counseling or a related field, as well as meet licensing requirements in your state. Mental health practitioners may work in a variety of settings, including private practices, community centers, hospitals, schools, and government agencies.

Some of the key responsibilities of a mental health professionals include:

  • Conducting assessments: Mental health professionals use various assessment tools and techniques to evaluate clients' mental health status, identify any underlying issues, and develop treatment plans.
  • Providing counseling and therapy: Mental health practitioners use various counseling and therapy techniques to help clients manage and overcome mental health issues, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based therapies, and psychotherapy.
  • Maintaining client records and privacy: Mental health providers must maintain accurate and detailed client records, documenting treatment progress, assessments, and other pertinent information.
  • Staying up-to-date with research and best practices: Mental health counselors must stay current with the latest research and best practices in the field to provide the most effective and evidence-based treatment to their clients.

Some career pathways for a Licensed Mental Health Professionals include:

  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor/Licensed Mental Health Counselor
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Licensed Clinical Psychologist
  • Licensed Educational Psychologist
  • Licensed Psychiatrist

At Bastyr we train people for the licensed professions LPCC and LMHC.

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor/Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Bastyr University trains students in mental health studies so they can gain licensure as mental health providers either as an LPCC or LMHC.

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs)/Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) are mental health professionals who have completed a master's degree in counseling or a related field and meet licensing requirements in their state. These mental health counselors work with individuals, couples, families, and groups to help them address mental health issues, improve their overall well-being, and build more fulfilling lives. The designation of license of LPCC, LMHC, LPC, etc. is dependent on state licensing boards, but generally are equivalent in nature. 

To pursue a career as a LPCC/LMHC, there are several essential skills you need to possess, such as:

  • Empathy: must be able to understand and empathize with their clients' experiences and emotions to build a trusting relationship and provide effective therapy.
  • Active listening: must have excellent listening skills to understand their clients' concerns and provide appropriate interventions.
  • Communication: must be able to communicate effectively with their clients, families, and other healthcare providers to ensure that everyone involved in a client's care is on the same page.
  • Clinical assessment: must have the ability to conduct thorough clinical assessments of their clients, including evaluating their mental health status, identifying any underlying issues, and developing treatment plans.
  • Clinical intervention: must have knowledge of various counseling and therapy techniques and be able to apply them to clients' unique situations.
  • Ethical and legal considerations: must be familiar with ethical and legal considerations in mental health counseling, including confidentiality, informed consent, and professional boundaries.
  • Critical thinking: must be able to think critically and make sound clinical judgments to provide effective therapy and make appropriate referrals when necessary.

As a licensed mental health practitioner, you might work in one of the following types of environments:

  • Private Practice Counselor
  • Community Mental Health Counselor
  • Inpatient/Residential Counselor
  • Employee Assistance Counselor
  • Geriatric Counselor
  • Correctional Counselor
  • Crisis Counselor
  • Child and Adolescent Counselor
  • Rehabilitation Counselor

Every state has a licensed career that is similar to the LPCC or LMHC, but may be called something slightly different, and each state varies regarding requirements. The program at Bastyr focuses on requirements from the states we operate our campuses in — Washington and California. An education at Bastyr will likely meet the requirements of your state licensure board, but you will want to confirm this with your state’s mental health licensing board.

Create Your Career in Mental Health at Bastyr

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, mental health, educational, guidance, and career counselors were among the largest occupations associated with mental health services in 2021. With jobs on the rise, there’s never been a better time to start your career in counseling than now.

At Bastyr, you not only can earn a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and launch your career, but our educational model teaches mental health fundamentals through the lens of holistic, whole-person wellbeing, so that you can apply the knowledge, compassion, and skills truly needed in the field of counseling psychology.

Overall, a career as a mental health professional can be a fulfilling and rewarding profession for those who have a passion for helping others and are dedicated to improving mental health and well-being.

Interested in learning more about earning your Master’s in Counseling Psychology at Bastyr?

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Written by Bastyr

Bastyr University's academic and research programs have received international recognition for pioneering work in science-based natural medicine. We offer a learning environment that fosters serious inquiry, professional dedication and lifelong relationships. Your career begins here, where comprehensive training makes the difference.