What does a Mental Health Counselor do?
Mental health counselors work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health. They help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, marital problems and suicide. Mental health counselors work with families, couples and individuals to help in overcoming emotional and psychological problems. Additionally, mental health counselors should also be skilled at discerning people's words and actions, helping them to see how what they say and do reveals the root causes of their issues. Mental health counselors work in hospitals, schools, and medical offices.
A Masters degree in Psychology or Sociology along with a current practitioner license through the state's clinical therapy board is required for mental health counselors. Successful mental health counselors are deeply compassionate and possess excellent listening, verbal and written communication skills.
- Provide an array of outpatient mental health services to promote individualized patient recovery
- Conduct intakes, individual, group, and family therapy
- Develop service plans and conduct reviews as needed throughout the duration of treatment
- Provide mental health assessments, counseling, referrals, and intervention services
- Complete and maintain documentation in a timely and accurate manner and according to Federal, State and Center guidelines
- Write reports to court, school, or other community agencies as necessary
- Follow up with psychiatrists and/or attending physicians in cases involving hospital admissions
- Collaborate with external psychiatric care providers as well as representatives from civic assistance programs to help schedule treatment sessions for those patients who need them
- Able to make professional evaluations, decisions, and recommendation for treatment planning and implementation
- Current practitioner license through the state's clinical therapy board
- 3 years of experience in counseling or mental health services
- Working knowledge of legal guidelines stipulating psychiatric admission requirements
- Able to work independently and as a positive member of a team
- Able to establish and maintain effective working relationships with mentally or emotionally disabled persons and their families
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Comfortable treating both routine and serious mental health illness
- Strong computer literacy skills
How much does a Mental Health Counselor make?
Mental Health Counselor Career Path
Learn how to become a Mental Health Counselor, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Years of Experience Distribution
Mental Health Counselor Insights
“Overall a good work environment and it is enjoyable to work with college students on campus.”
“The organisation is so flexible that it helps you to achieve both career and personal goals”
“None the job is very good and I love to help kids that don’t have any where to stay.”
“I have learned many counseling techniques to utilize in my tool box and I have a good supervisor.”
“With totally positive performance reviews and positive reinforcement of my work quality and work ethic this is confusing.”
“I enjoyed the tasks I did but the management was corrupt and not supportive in any way.”
“In my experience there was not much room for raises but the pay and compensation was competitive.”
“The pay is also decent and I got a nice bonus this past year too.”
Mental Health Counselor Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of mental health counselors
Mental health counselors spend their workday counseling patients. Their most common daily tasks include having sessions with clients, assessing patients, creating treatment plans, and documenting their notes. They might also have to fill out paperwork, such as insurance forms, and submit it to insurance companies for payment.
Yes, mental health counseling is a good career as it can be very rewarding to make a positive impact on someone's life. According to U.S. News, it's #67 on the Best 100 Jobs list. The job usually has regular hours and might not require any overtime or weekend work.
Mental health counselors are well paid, with an average salary for a mental health counselor in the U.S. of $55,450 per year. Salaries can increase with additional degrees, such as a Ph.D. Also, counselors in major metro areas tend to earn more.
Like in most jobs, working as a mental health counselor may be difficult at times. The job can be emotionally demanding and a counselor might have to deal with difficult patients and co-workers on occasion. Also, insurance billing and paperwork can be complicated.