According to the modern healthcare paradigm – biopsychosocial healthcare – the term “health” has come to encompass every aspect of well-being, from physical to psychological, spiritual, and even social. This paradigm illustrates the importance of psychology in modern care delivery as it is key to uncovering health problems rooted behind poor mental health.
After all, modern research has long established the link between mental and physical health. For instance, it has been proven that depression increases the risks for many physical health issues, from heart problems to various chronic conditions. Research also shows that 1 in 3 people suffering from chronic conditions also suffer mental health problems. This makes psychology an integral part of today’s healthcare scenario. Moreover, the role of a psychologist is not limited to clinical settings. The field offers many nonlinear career options where psychologists can offer their services in the mental health arena.
Role psychology majors play in modern healthcare
A psychology degree has much more potential in the healthcare landscape than many realize. Many non-traditional career approaches to psychology allow you to deliver top-notch psychological care that helps scale businesses and will enable patients to live their best lives.
Moreover, with the focus on the biopsychosocial approach to health, many alternative careers for psychology majors allow them to serve other roles outside clinical settings. Examples include working in company HR to recruit and retain talent, in the marketing department to study consumer behaviors and draft effective marketing strategies, or as a child development specialist – the options are limitless.
Today we’ll be looking at different roles psychology majors can play in the mental health field. Keep scrolling to learn more.
Six psychology job roles in the mental health arena
Psychology majors can take on a variety of roles in different tiers of the healthcare spectrum. They can work as educators or engage in fundamental or applied research, offer consultation services to local non-profit and business organizations, and provide clinical care. Below we have broken down the different roles a psychologist can play, from specialist roles to supporting positions.
- Community Health Psychologist
They work in public settings to improve public health and its outcomes. It’s a subfield of health psychology that emphasizes working for the community and seeks ways to enhance healthcare outcomes for local communities. Qualitative health psychology is a subfield that studies the relationship between an individual’s mental and physical well-being and their environment.
People who work as community health advocates often help others battling other problems, such as substance abuse or malnutrition. They work for the government, in hospitals, as educators in schools and colleges, and in many other domains.
- Rehab psychologist
Rehabilitation psychologists employ psychological techniques and principles to devise treatment plans for patients with a disability due to a disease or injury. Such patients suffer both physical and mental loss, and a rehab psychologist helps them improve their health outcomes on both levels as they treat and evaluate functional, cognitive, and psychological issues. For instance, a patient recovering from a traumatic brain injury can consult a rehab psychologist who can develop strategies to help them cope with problems post-injury, like sudden mood swings.
Rehab psychologists are often part of the rehabilitation team that sets treatment objectives and goals and monitors the patient’s recovery throughout their treatment. They can work in clinical settings, such as nursing homes, veteran care facilities, and inpatient and outpatient care centers.
- Clinical Health Advocate
Clinical psychologists are at the forefront of modern healthcare. They are licensed mental health professionals who use their expertise to provide direct patient care. These specialist work to understand the behavioral dynamics of the patient to understand the link between patients’ actions and their health results and how the former affects the latter.
The American Board of Professional Psychology defines the role of a clinical psychologist as an integral part of the healthcare system. After all, a clinical psychologist is dedicated to preventing and treating healthcare conditions, including diseases and disabilities, and improving patient care outcomes. They can work in a variety of settings and can take up various roles, from administrative to supportive, in organizations such as government institutions, commercial organizations, medical facilities, and more.
- Wellness expert
Wellness experts encourage healthy lifestyle choices. They help individuals and communities make decisions that will positively impact their quality of life. Psychologists in health care have a crucial role in advising patients on fundamental healthcare practices, including better hygiene, eating balanced meals, and avoiding dependence on harmful substances like tobacco, alcohol, and narcotics. Additionally, they deal with complex problems, including PTSD, terminal diseases, and suicide prevention. They can work in various settings as educators, business owners, and nonprofits benefit from wellness experts’ services.
- Human Resource Manager
This non-traditional role within the mental health industry falls more on the administrative side. Human resource managers lend their psychological expertise to healthcare or business organizations and employ psychological principles to guide the hiring process within the organization. HR managers are most often responsible for hiring decisions and training new talent to help maximize operational efficiency throughout the organization.
They help employers retain top talent by establishing policies and processes that support employees and guarantee adherence to applicable laws and regulations. Their responsibilities may also include designing salary and incentive packages, providing opportunities for training and development to the staff, and addressing any employees’ misgivings about management.
- Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse counselors are mental health professionals who help people suffering from substance abuse and their loved ones. They work with patients to identify triggers, develop healthy coping mechanisms, create a solid social support system, get employed, and design an effective recovery plan.
They also help their patients’ loved ones through this challenging time by educating them on the disorder and equipping them with skills to better deal with the erratic behavior of the patient and improve their relationship. Psychology majors specializing in substance abuse follow a systematic approach to counseling to facilitate their client’s reintegration into society. They work in various settings, including government, commercial, and non-profit.
Psychology is a vast career path with many subfields and specialties. There are limitless roles based on your interests. If a clinical role doesn’t suit your personality or temperament, you can try for a non-traditional role that allows you to leverage your psychology expertise to benefit your organization. Consider the above-discussed roles and opt for one that suits your interests.
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