how do i start a career in mental health

how do i start a career in mental health

Starting a Career in Mental Health

Mental Health Professionals provide a vital service to individuals, families and wider communities. If you are considering a career in Mental Health, there is a wealth of advice and support available to help you on your way.

Qualifications and Training

To become a Mental Health Professional, you need to undertake an accredited qualification in either Nursing, Social Work, Psychotherapy or Counselling. The type of training and the qualifications you need to gain depend on the setting and types of work you will be doing.

  • Medical Professionals: A Medical Degree with associated training in mental health, or specialist qualifications from The Royal College of Psychiatrists are essential.
  • Social Workers: A Qualification in Social Work is required, ideally with further specialist qualifications in mental health.
  • Psychotherapist or Counsellor: Gaining the relevant postgraduate qualifications in Counselling or Psychotherapy are necessary.

Gaining Experience

Once you have qualified, you can begin looking for work in Mental Health services. Many employers may also want you to have experience or knowledge of the work they do, or a specific skill or qualification that is in demand.

You should start by researching suitable employers, looking at job opportunities and networking with professional contacts. You may even be able to volunteer in a mental health service to gain some hands-on experience. This can be a great way to gain skills, build your confidence and demonstrate your commitment to a career in Mental Health.

You may also want to look into taking on additional qualifications or obtaining specialist knowledge to help boost your career prospects.


Becoming a Mental Health Professional is an incredibly rewarding career, but it does require dedication, commitment and the right qualifications. With the right combination of qualifications, experience and networking, you can start your career in Mental Health and make a difference to the lives of others.

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