The coronavirus pandemic convinced humanity to discover an effective vaccine to mitigate the risks of this international disease. Experts are hopeful about the success of these vaccines manufactured by different companies. But, while we’ll quickly manage to overcome the physical risks of COVID-19, its psychological impact will not disappear gradually. Perhaps, a mental health pandemic will replace the present one in the following years. There are no vaccines for mental health problems, so they get expected to last longer than SARS-CoV-2 itself. That’s why 2021 will be the year for mental health professionals to shine. Let’s see what kind of services they can provide us shortly.
THE FUTURE OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Mental illnesses were widespread in pre-COVID America. Nearly one-fifth of the population suffered from some psychological ailment. There are multiple factors responsible for this additional toll of mental weakness. Homeschooling, telecommuting, safety hazards, financial sufferings, fake news, and isolation have changed people’s lifestyles. This sudden change has affected their behavior and imagination. Here are a few reasons why mental health professionals will find work in 2021:
- There’s a renewed interest in the study of human behavior. That’s why a growing number of students wish to pursue a career in counseling.
- The coronavirus pandemic has increased the demand for mental health providers as more people are susceptible to psychological weakness now. Therefore, the world will need more professionals in the post-COVID future.
- Research suggests that around 120 million Americans live in mental health shortage locations. Three-fourths of counties experience deficiency of mental health providers. Consequently, by 2025, the country will need 45,000-250,000 more mental health professionals.
CAREERS IN COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGY
As a professional counselor, you can help people who are struggling to manage their stress and overcome feelings of depression. You can initiate your career as a mental health provider by earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology. While further strengthening your position in the field, masters in counseling online can be your next significant investment. A flexible schedule and advanced learning can create a career thrift for you. A deep understanding of the working of the human mind will enable you to find employment opportunities in the following categories:
- SCHOOL & CAREER COUNSELING:
School and career counseling focus on students who are struggling academically. They help children who suffer from peer pressure, domestic problems, or other issues hindering their performance. A school employs the services of a school counselor to find challenges with student progress. Career counselors primarily focus on helping students make the right career choice. They observe a student’s skills and interests to suggest a suitable learning pathway. Both these professions can help you earn more than $50,000 on average. ASCA or the American School Counselor Association, NCDA, or the National Career Development Association are organizations you should know.
- MARRIAGE & FAMILY COUNSELING:
As revealed in a WHO survey, coronavirus has disrupted mental health services globally. Alas! The pandemic conversely caused a spike in divorces and break-ups, as BBC realized in December. That’s where marriage counselors try providing strength to a dysfunctional couple. It’s their job to find challenges in the relationship and find ways to resolve them. Family counselors stop households from breaking apart by promoting cooperation and communication. No wonder they make around $40-50,000 on average every year. As a novice in this field, you can contact organizations such as AAMFT or the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
- MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING:
Around two-fifths of American adults reported worsened mental health in June 2020. We require the service of mental health counselors to treat common psychological disorders. They work with individuals or communities to ensure people’s mental well-being suffering from cognitive or behavioral issues. They apply different therapy-based techniques to stabilize a patient’s mental suffering. Suicide prevention and crisis management are also part of their responsibilities. You can make more than $40,000 annually working as a licensed mental health counselor. There are organizations such as AMHCA working on behalf of these professionals.
- PEDIATRIC COUNSELING:
Among children of the west aged 2-8 years, more than 15% suffer from a behavioral or developmental disorder. Similarly, some 20% of teenagers have a mental illness such as anxiety or depression. So, pediatric counselors help these kids find peace and learn to overcome their emotions. Some kids are traumatized by past events. Others have suffered from domestic/sexual abuse or bullying. Therapy allows them to live their lives naturally and not to let bad memories haunt their dreams. These counselors earn an average sum of over $40,000 every year for their services. Moreover, organizations such as ACAC support these practitioners.
- SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELING:
The threat to substance abusers has risen during the COVID-19 pandemic. An NIH-funded study published in September found that people with SUD are more vulnerable to this virus. That’s why they require special attention provided by substance abuse counselors. These professionals treat people struggling with drug/alcohol addiction. They either work with individuals or engage their patients in group activities. It’s part of their job to find ways for these patients to cope with their addictions and recover. As a substance abuse counselor, you can earn over $40-50,000 every year. You can contact organizations such as NAADAC for their professional advice and suggestions.
- VETERAN AFFAIRS COUNSELING:
PTSD isn’t uncommon among veterans. Some 13.5% of veterans deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan tested positive for PTSD. But other studies take that number even higher. Life in isolation will bring vets into relapse. That’s why they need the services of veteran affairs counselors. These professionals help former soldiers struggle with their emotions with therapy and medication. They help them find the roots of their guilt/shame and overcome the feeling of self-loathing. Sometimes, you also have to collaborate with active military members too. On average, these professionals earn $80,000 and get support from organizations such as MGCA on a national level.
- GRIEF COUNSELING:
There are numerous reasons for a person to experience grief and sorrow. Death in the family, divorce/break-up, unemployment, or an incurable disease may cause someone to become mentally unstable. This pandemic has elevated the unemployment rate throughout the world. In the UK alone, 10% of youngsters lost their job. That’s where grief counselors come to suggest coping strategies to the people suffering from sorrow. We have bereavement counselors who solely focus on helping people who have lost a lover, relative, or pet. They earn between $20-30,000 on average but can make it to $70,000+ with experience. Here AAGC is the organization you should know.
Mental illness was among major world concerns even before 2020. But the current pandemic enhanced this threat on a global scale. With lockdowns implemented and citizens forced to quarantine themselves, uncertainties dominated the public imagination. We can diminish the death toll from this barely-understood virus through our healthcare professionals. But recent studies have revealed that 50% of doctors and nurses are vulnerable to mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression. That’s why mental health workers are needed to calm down our nation’s nerves with therapy and counseling. They will boldly guide the sensitive healthcare industry in the upcoming future.