About the Field of Mental Health Counseling
Mental Health Counseling is a distinct profession with national standards for education, training and clinical practice. New York Mental Health Counselors Association (www.nymhca.org) is the state organization that represents the interests of the clinical counselors of New York State. As stated in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, mental health counselors work with individuals, families, and groups to address and treat mental and emotional disorders and to promote mental health. They are trained in a variety of therapeutic techniques used to address issues such as depression, anxiety, addiction and substance abuse, suicidal impulses, stress, trauma, low self-esteem, and grief. They also help with job and career concerns, educational decisions, mental and emotional health issues, and relationship problems. In addition, they may be involved in community outreach, advocacy, and mediation activities. Some specialize in delivering mental health services for the elderly. Mental health counselors often work closely with other mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, and school counselors.
Mental health counselors work in community health and social service organizations, day treatment programs, outpatient mental health clinics, hospitals, or private practice. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, employment for mental health counselors is expected to grow by 24 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. “Under managed care systems, insurance companies increasingly are providing for reimbursement of counselors as a less costly alternative to psychiatrists and psychologists. In addition, there has been increased demand for mental health services as individuals become more willing to seek help.”
CNNMoney.com ranked Mental Health Counselor number 33 of the top 50 Best Jobs in America, based on average salary ($53,150) and projected 10-year job growth (27.18%).