How to become a mental health counsellor

Become a mental health counsellor A mental health counselor meets with a little group of people with severe mental problems. At first, the counselor is very busy. He asks members questions about the history of their disorders, how they cope, and what it is like to interact with others.

As time passes, the counselor says less, encouraging group members to ask the questions and provide support. Following the end of the session, they report that their lives have improved: they’ve got much more confidence, more friends, and more fun.

Mental health counselors treat people with mental and psychological problems. They help people work through everything in job stress to union conflicts to suicidal impulses.

Seamus, Psychiatric Counselor

Are You Ready To…?

Counsel people one-on-one and in groups
Diagnose clients (identify their problems)
Give emotional tests
Keep records
Keep up with the latest therapy techniques
Work with psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals

It Helps To Be…

Willing to balance caring for others with self-care so as to prevent burnout (also known as compassion fatigue). You’ll also need to be able to listen to judgment — easier said than done, but you’ll get better at it with practice.

Make High School Count

Take psychology to find out about human evolution, emotions, and communicating.
Sign up to be a peer counselor in your school.
Keep a diary to get to understand your own internal thoughts, questions, and struggles at a deeper level.

Did You Know?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression affects up to six million American men and twelve million American women every year.


Government economists expect job growth for mental health counselors to be much quicker than the average for all careers through 2020. As the population grows, the number of people who need counselling will grow also. Also, health insurance practices are shifting. Many insurance providers now cover mental health counselors as a viable alternative to psychiatrists and psychologists.


According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average salary of mental health counselors in 2011 was 42,590


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