How to Become a Depression Counselor
One of the most common mental conditions that affect people all over the world is depression. Every year, depression impacts the lives of millions of people in the United States and many other countries. However, due to the fact that many instances of depression go unreported, the true number of people who suffer from this ailment is almost certainly greater than what we're aware of.
For many individuals, counseling for depression can often be necessary in order to make a full recovery. This type of therapy is often quite helpful, particularly when paired with other kinds of treatment, such as medication. In general, professionals in this sector are well-equipped to manage various forms of depression.
Step 1: Complete a Depression Counselor Degree
A bachelor's degree in either counseling or psychology is generally required for people who want to begin careers as counselors specializing in mental health. However, most applicable psychological professions also require their practitioners to get graduate degrees in their field. For example, numerous educational institutions provide Master's and Doctoral degree programs (such as a Ph.D. or PsyD) in the fields of counseling psychology, general counseling, and depression therapy, which can all qualify a person to be a depression counselor.
Step 2: Become Licensed as a Depression Counselor
Many aspirants need to accumulate a minimum of 3,000 hours' worth of supervised work experience before they can become licensed as counselors for mental health. If you complete an internship (see below), it's possible that some of the hours from it will contribute toward your total work experience.
Internship / Practicum Experience
Many degree programs for mental health counseling require students to complete internships in order to graduate. You should easily be able to find out if the degree program you're interested in requires this.
Before being granted a license to be a counselor for mental health (see above), aspirants in many states must first pass an exam given by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).
Different states will allow candidates for mental health counseling degrees to apply their internship hours toward the necessary work experience that they need to become licensed (see above). As mentioned above, some states also require counselors to pass an exam before they can acquire their license.
Step 3: Apply for a Depression Counselor Job
In comparison to a mere case of "the blues," true depression is significantly more severe. Depression can be very serious and even life-threatening, and it can have a debilitating effect on a person's life. Many individuals who are extremely depressed may, at some time or another, think about ending their lives. Some of those individuals will, in fact, make suicide attempts, and some of them may even succeed.
Depression therapy is required to address this crippling condition. People who seek out this kind of therapy are far more likely to discover healthy ways to handle their issues, the result of which is generally a better, more fulfilling life. Depression therapy, therefore, may be able to potentially save lives.
What Careers Can I Pursue With a Depression Counselor Degree?
Since depression doesn't discriminate, you could deal with a diverse range of clients as a depression counselor. Clients could be individuals of various ages, financial backgrounds, and ethnicities. However, some therapists for depression might decide to only work with a specific group of people or just deal with a certain subcategory of the condition.
A depression counselor can start working on treating a patient after he or she has a deeper understanding of their condition. In order to assist patients in emerging from depressive conditions, a variety of therapeutic approaches may be employed. However, depression counselors often use therapeutic modalities such as talk therapy, psychotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A depression counselor may aid clients in comprehending their situations by utilizing these common counseling techniques. A counselor could also provide advice on how to handle or deal with specific life challenges.
In 2021, approximately 351,000 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors (which include depression counselors) were employed in the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselor employment is expected to grow at a rate of 22% during the 2021-2031 decade, generating some 77,500 new positions.
Where Can I Work With a Depression Counselor Degree?
Counselors that specialize in depression are employed in a diverse array of medical settings. They might, for instance, work at hospitals or institutions that provide mental health care. Depression counselors may also serve a variety of other types of institutions, including schools, rehabilitation centers, crisis hotlines, and nonprofit organizations.
Numerous mental health counselors who specialize in depression also choose to launch their own private clinics.
Step 4: Learn About Depression Counselor Salaries
Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors — which include the category of depression counselors — earned an average yearly salary of $48,520 in the U.S. as of 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors' median annual wages, according to the BLS, range from $59,790 in California to $49,510 in Texas, the states with the greatest employment levels in this profession.
The income of a depression counselor may vary depending on a variety of criteria, including an individual's geography, education, and experience.