Interested in a Career in Mental Health? Fields to Focus On

If you’re currently trying to decide which degree to study at university, or if you are thinking about which healthcare area to specialize in during a post-graduate program, you might like to consider mental health.

Tiffany Rowe, Seek Visibility (Partner)
3-minute read

There are a variety of interesting mental health fields to choose from, many of which are currently growing and should therefore provide good career prospects for the future.

Interested in becoming a mental health worker and advocate? If so, read on for the rundown on some of the top fields in this industry you should weigh up today.

School Counseling

For starters, there is a growing need for, and support of, school counselors right now. If you’ve always liked the idea of working with children, this could be a good option for you. Complete relevant qualifications, such as this online Master’s in School Counseling, and then investigate roles in elementary or secondary schools.

So many students require assistance from mental health practitioners because of all the violent attacks occurring at schools and other spots around the country lately. Increasing numbers of students are witnessing, victims of, or otherwise affected by violence, and need support in turn. In addition, there is a need for counselors at schools because there is more understanding of the link between mental health and learning results. That is, educators have realized that students often need counseling to cope with personal crises (these could be at school or in their home life), so they can concentrate on their schooling and study effectively. School counselors also often work with students who have behavioral issues, learning difficulties, or special needs.

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

If you’d prefer to work in a business environment, consider becoming an industrial-organizational psychologist. People in this field must understand how businesses are organized and how employees and managers work and interact within them.

Also known as occupational psychologists, people in this specialty concentrate on helping groups to work more productivity together and more harmoniously. They help increase people’s levels of job satisfaction across all sorts of organizations, from small businesses, to Fortune 500 firms, to government departments, to not-for-profits.

Get a job in this area and you will likely work on things such as designing more efficient and people-friendly HR policies, screening workers who apply for jobs, evaluating business models, learning about different management theories, and more. Work is done with individuals and teams, too.

Forensic Psychology

Do you love watching crime shows on television or reading the latest crime novels? If so, you might be well-suited to a career as a forensic psychologist. People working in this area have to understand how justice systems function and often give input into criminal, civil, or family legal matters.

These psychologists can work in any number of legal contexts. For example, if you work in forensic psychology, you might find yourself employed by a government department helping with policy decisions, or you could work in private practice, child protection units, prisons, police departments, family and mental health services, or elsewhere.

In addition, you could end up working with or for community organizations, government personnel, litigants, perpetrators, victims, or other stakeholders. You may diagnose people, conduct assessments and forensic interviews, evaluate mental health states for those charged with crimes, conduct research, evaluate programs, collect and report on evidence, or perform psychological interventions.

Social Work

For people who like the idea of having direct impact on the quality of others’ lives, social work can be an ideal job type. If you become a social worker, you could get a role in child protection, clinical practice, family social work, gerontological aid or other areas.

A big plus of choosing this career path is that not only do you get to help people and see how your assistance changes their lives for the better, but you can also quite easily try a variety of specialties during your career. This will ensure you keep learning new things and stay challenged.


People who have had a long-held fascination with the brain should be directed to neuropsychology. Neuropsychologists study how the brain works and what can go wrong with it when it’s not functioning optimally. Neuropsychologists often work in an acute setting—one-on-one with patients—but may also join neuroscience clinics where they help study and search for treatments.

Choose this job type and you will get to work with people of many ages and backgrounds and become an expert on numerous issues, particularly those in the neurological illness field. For instance, you could learn about and try to treat tumors, strokes, neurodegenerative disease, metabolic disorders, as well as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).