• peggy thompson

Careers in Mental Health

Updated: Mar 19

Image Taken From: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

When we think about mental health we usually think about stress or feelings, but what about those who have a career in mental health practices? Along with family therapists and psychologists, there are so many jobs in the mental health field that are over-looked. From my research, I found that there are four main types of career paths in mental health; counseling, psychology, psychiatry, and social work.

While it might be confusing at first, the different careers are all unique. Psychologists hold Ph.D.’s and can work as clinical psychologists or in a more research-based setting. They have the ability to diagnose and treat people with mental illness. Similarly, they are trained in many therapies to help treat patients. Research psychologists, on the other hand, focus more on studying and understanding mental health.

Very close to psychology, there is psychiatry. The biggest difference between the two is that psychiatrists have the ability to prescribe drugs. They can also diagnose patients and treat them like psychologists. Another job in this field is psychiatric technicians, who work for psychiatrists to administer medicine and monitor patients.

Social workers and counselors are also a large part of mental health work, providing help and resources. Another confusion is between counselors and psychologists, which is understandable. Counselors often have degrees focused on mental health treatment, while psychologists study psychology. Counselors can also diagnose mental illness but focus more on helping people with their daily lives rather than specific disorders and testing. Lastly, there are social workers, the support. Social workers cannot treat or diagnose mental illness, but instead provide personal help and resources to the people they work with.

Maybe you’re starting to think about college and careers, I hope this look into mental health careers will encourage you to find your interests, no matter how ambitious.

-Peggy Thompson (TeensForHope)


“Clinical Mental Health Counseling versus Psychology.” Counseling VS Psychology - Counseling@Northwestern, counseling.northwestern.edu/about/become-a-counselor/counseling-psychology/#:~:text=A typical psychology master's program,

then treats their individual problems.

“Rehabilitation Counselor.” ExploreHealthCareers.org, explorehealthcareers.org/field/mental-health/.

Writers, Staff. “Making a Difference in Mental Health Careers.” LearnHowToBecome.org, LearnHowToBecome.org, 9 Nov. 2020, www.learnhowtobecome.org/make-a-difference-careers/mental-health/.

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