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Mental Health Counselor

Unlike most physical disorders, behavior problems and psychological disorders require a lot of counseling to the patients and their family members. A Mental Health Counselor assists in the recovery process of patients suffering from psychological and behavioral problems and provides timely counseling to them. They may work in schools, de-addiction centers, psychiatric unit of hospitals or hospitals exclusively meant for treating mental disorder. A Mental Health Counselor plays an important role in the rehabilitation of patients that have anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidal tendencies, stress or grief.

Job Duties:

A Mental Health Counselor works in diverse areas aiding in treatment of disorders that are behavioral, psychological or attitude based. They may have to work with children and adolescents with learning problems or behavior problems. Their duties are to:

1) Provide counseling, rehabilitation and support services.
2) Talk, listen, observe and analyze patients and suggest a suitable mode of treatment. They may refer to specialists for treatment.
3) Suggest therapy in groups or individually as a mode of treatment.
4) They do not treat patients but help in the rehabilitation of the patient under going treatment.
5) Suggest ways to encourage patients to become healthy. Counsel their family about the ways of coping with patients.
6) Counsel the family members of the patient to create an environment that would hasten healing.
7) Counsel couples and help them sort out relationship problems.
8) Communicate with the work place or school to discuss about the stressors.
9) Help with job and career concerns.
10) Work with patients in drug rehabilitation process.
11) Help elderly people recover from depression.
12) Work closely with psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses and other mental health professionals.

Knowledge and Skills:

1) Should have a strong desire to help others.
2) Very caring and smooth in handling with patients and their issues.
3) Maintain confidentiality about sensitive issues related to the patient.
4) Good knowledge of different social, cultural, educational, work place environments.
5) Good at providing stimulus to a patient making progress.
6) Have specialized knowledge in the area of their functioning. If they specialize in children mental health counseling they are expected to know everything that could affect a child's mental health.
7) Abreast of latest developments in counseling.
8) Good listening skills.
9) Have a positive bent of mind.

Educational Qualification and Experience:

1) A Master's degree is essential in psychology or human services.
2) The licensing requirements vary from state to state. They may be required to get certification from the National Board of Certified Counselors.

Salaries and Benefits:

1) A Mental Health Counselor earns $37,000-$55,000 on an average per annum.
2) A Mental Health Counselor is entitled for standard benefits as determined by their employees.