The Rewards Of Working In The Mental Health Sector

Author: Joanne Lemke
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The Rewards of Working in the Mental Health Sector

If you’re one of almost 1 million workers in the health care industry, your job is undoubtedly full of rewards and challenges.

With an increasing number of sub-sectors in this fast growing industry, healthcare jobs in the mental health sector are now becoming more and more sought after, since the 2011/12 National Mental Health Reform. The government’s five year plan to assist those with varying mental health issues has seen an allocation of funds totalling over .5 billion, so the scope to take on health care jobs has grown exponentially.

Mental health is an area that until now, has been largely overlooked or even side-stepped, but with increased education and information, not to mention fiscal assistance, it can be an extremely rewarding career for anyone considering working in the healthcare industry.

Unlike most other health sectors, mental health is not a sector that depends on expensive, high tech equipment – instead it almost completely relies on you, the mental health worker. So unlike the field of surgery or general practice, this exclusive area relies on a health care professional with unique interpersonal skills, patience, a deep understanding of each individual’s particular mental issue, and the ability to interact with families and those directly affected by the patient’s illness. As with all health care jobs, compassion and a huge amount of commitment is a trait you need to have in the mental health sector but it’s a field that most workers find infinitely rewarding – but at the same time extremely challenging.

To start with, those with mental illness may not be in a position to correctly identify what level of service they need, and with so many areas to address, you as a clinician may not be aware that mental health jobs cover a broad spectrum of categories.

  • Schizophrenia: This is mental illness in its extreme form and requires specialised care which may include medication and intense therapy
  • Anxiety disorders: Incuding OCD, phobias, social anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder
  • Mood disorders: Often referred to as bi-polar disorder, or manic depression and includes intermittent episodes of feeling extremely happy, or extremely sad
  • Psychotic disorders: Involve a distortion in thinking and awareness, like hallucinations and hearing voices
  • Addiction and impulse control disorders: These disorders include eating disorders, pyromania (setting fires), or kleptomania (stealing things)
  • Sexual or gender disorders: Which affect mostly young people who have no real idea why they feel displaced in their gender
  • Alcohol and drug dependency disorders: Which are often the most difficult to manage in the long term

There are an infinite number of mental health issues requiring dedicated carers and clinicians who want to take on a mental health job.

With around one in five Australians experiencing symptoms of some form of mental illness, there are a number of areas within the sector that you can choose to work. While mental health can prove just as challenging as the fields of surgery, pediatrics, or general practice, it’s a specialisation that can could fit those who want to make a difference to a large proportion of our population.

Joanne Lemke is a final year creative writing student at UOW, who is looking to break into the corporate copywriting space once she graduates and hopefully go on to eventually some day write a book around her other passions, namely beauty, cooking and travel.


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  1. Freeny Landero says:

    Incredible points. Sound arguments. Keep up the great work.

  2. blackle says:

    Diseases or no diseases. No man knows when he shall die, although he knows he must die.

  3. Tucker says:

    Make sure if you are struggling with any of these that you seek help if you need it!

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