The job of a mental health counselor used to be relatively straightforward. But with the onset of COVID-19 and the public health crisis, much has changed. Telecounseling has become much more common, and fewer mental health professionals are working out of brick-and-mortar office fronts these days. The conditions you may find yourself treating as a mental health professional have changed somewhat, too. In 2022, there’s also an increased demand for applicants who possess the skills and credentials to become mental health counselors
If you’re thinking of pursuing a degree in a field that helps people better manage the way they think and feel, there’s never been a better time than right now to begin your journey. Here’s what we know about how COVID-19 has transformed the field of mental health care over the last two years.
More People Are Reaching Out for Help
Research has shown that people tend to talk more about their mental health after a large-scale disaster or crisis, and the COVID-19 outbreak has proven no different. Data published at the National Institute of Mental Health show ‘substantial increases’ in self-reported mental health issues following the public health lockdown, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. But what does this mean for the professionals who treat them?
Fortunately, it means the conversation is getting louder. People are more willing to talk about how they’re feeling and to seek treatment, which translates into more willing patients who want to feel better. The stigma involving mental illness is fading, and mental health practitioners are busier right now than they’ve ever been in the past.
As a Result, the Job Market Is Growing
The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the 2020 median pay of marriage and family therapists at $24.69 an hour, or $51,340 annually. As of March 1st of this year, pay for licensed professionals within this field has increased to $52,786, says GlassDoor. It’s a humble increase, but what it lacks in salary, it makes up for in growth potential. The job outlook for this career title is expected to grow much faster than average, at 16% through the year 2030.
If you enjoy letting others vent, and you have a knack for listening and for encouraging people to share how they’re feeling, a career as a mental health therapist could be ideal. You could work out of your home, out of an office in the middle of town, or in the back room of a pharmacy. You could counsel patients via phone, video, or in person. You could work for a private school or a big corporation. You could even enter into private practice and work for yourself.
The first step is earning your master’s degree in a course such as Marriage and Family Therapy, like the one offered at Campbellsville University’s Phillips Graduate Institute. Talk to an enrollment advisor today.