Mental health counselors play an integral role in the daily lives of individuals helping them to achieve the best possible level of emotional and mental health. They assist and counsel people who need their help to better enable them to deal with and manage mental and emotional issues in their everyday lives. Mental health counselors help people manage different types of stress affecting them, including emotional problems, mental problems, family issues, and substance abuse issues. Mental health counselors use their education and training to identify issues and enable their clients to either overcome those issues or find a better way to manage them.
They also help counsel clients to deal with unexpected setbacks in their lives, such as career changes or the loss of a loved one. They assist their clients to enable them to have the necessary tools to better deal
with the issues in their lives and make informed decisions about their future plans. Mental health counselors often work together with other members of the community like social workers and community services providers to provide their clients the best possible care.
The BLS reports the median salary for a mental health counselors was $41,500 2012[i]. The top paying locales for mental health counselors according to the BLS are Alaska, Wyoming, Arkansas, Oregon and Massachusetts. Meanwhile the states that currently employ the highest number of mental health counselors are Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York.[ii]
There are various fields of mental health counseling that counselors can specialize in and pursue. According to the BLS, industries with the highest levels of employment of mental health counselors include outpatient care centers, individual and family services, Residential intellectual and developmental disability, mental health and substance abuse facilities, local government, and offices of health care practitioners. The industries that pay the mental health counselors the most include insurance carriers, state government, social advocacy organizations, offices of physicians and junior colleges.[iii]
With the ever evolving, uncertain and sometimes traumatic events of recent times, mental health counselors play an increasingly important role in helping individuals deal with not only their own issues, but also help their clients to deal with larger issues generally. The BLS projects the growth rate in the mental health counseling industry to be a promising 29% between 2012 and 2022[i]. With these promising job growth numbers for mental health counselors, students looking to earn a degree as mental health counselors may find many emerging career opportunities in their chosen field by the time they complete their necessary education and degree programs.
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm#tab-1 | [ii] bls.gov/oes/current/oes211014.htm | [iii] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/mental-health-counselors-and-marriage-and-family-therapists.htm#tab-3