Three Different Mental Health Specialists


If you’re planning on training to work with Mental Health – either in the NHS or as a private practitioner it helps to know what are the different end points for that training: if you take a Level in Psychology, you could end up in any one of a wide variety of jobs. Let’s help to give you some focus by putting a spotlight on three kinds of Mental Health professionals.

Psychology
If you’re looking into this as a career, it’s possible that you imagine jobs in psychology as your ultimate aim: a modern-day cross between Sigmund Freud and Frasier Crane, talking to patients about their anxieties in well-upholstered offices.

In truth, psychological professionals work mostly in the NHS – with some eventually moving on to private practices, or taking a small number of private clients as well as their primary commitment public mental health work.

A Clinical Psychologist usually works in a hospital and focusses on diagnosing and treating mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. They work with a large number of patients and primarily concentrate on talk based therapies, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that help patients maintain an independent and functional life.

Nursing
Mental Health Nursing is a vital job within the NHS, required in all sorts of institutions from hospitals and specialist psychiatric units to nursing homes and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers.

While a Mental Health Nurse would not do the diagnosing and prescribing work described above, they take over from there – especially when dealing with ‘in patient’ environments: wards and nursing homes where a small number of doctors divide their limited time between a large number of patients.

Nurses devise nursing plans to fit each patient and help to put a ‘human face’ on the treatment – ensuring patients know when and how to take medication, and reminding them where necessary.

Social Worker
An interest in mental health and qualifications in psychology can also be a route into social work: this is a burgeoning field in the UK. Though typically somewhat under-resourced, there are many opportunities to pursue your interests and find a job you are passionate about without the system.

Social Workers can work with hospitals, or attached to a local council or area authority, and with charities to help support people experiencing difficulties, often with their mental health.

While some make difficult interventions in people’s lives – for example, assessing if parents are able to care safely for a child – those working with adults are often aiming to help support a consistent and productive life. Many schedule regular meetings to help give a support structure for those in recovery from drug addiction, for example.


These are only three of the different careers that studying psychology can be a way into. For more information, the NHS has online resources to guide you.

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