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Demand for Mental Health Counsellors Is Soaring in the Aftermath of COVID-19

Counselling
Photo: Demand for Mental Health Counsellors Is Soaring in the Aftermath of COVID-19
COVID-19 has had a vastly detrimental effect on Australians’ mental health.

People have recently experienced a steep increase in the sorts of issues that would prompt them to seek counselling including isolation, bereavement, fear, stress, insomnia, substance abuse, and depression resulting from lost jobs.

In particular, increasing numbers of children have been suffering from child abuse, suicidal thoughts, negative emotions and other adverse effects resulting ­­from the circumstances surrounding the virus.

Sizable numbers of these children­­ have recently been reaching out to counsellors via help hotlines. In fact, Lifeline crisis support has been receiving record numbers of calls from Australians of varying ages, including many calls from children.
College students have also been adversely affected by the virus.

From an ongoing study, researchers have learned that COVID-19 amplified the levels of anxiety and depression that college students were feeling.

They also found a corresponding decrease in these students’ levels of physical activity, which isn’t just bad for mental health; it’s also detrimental to physical health.

Many of Australia’s veterans had already been grappling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health problems before COVID-19 became an issue. COVID-19 has created additional stresses for veterans, contributing to a recent 50 percent rise in demand for mental health services from this group.

Clearly, mental health counsellors are in demand right now.

Even before COVID-19, the Australian government’s National Skills Commission had already been predicting a favourable employment outlook for the country’s counsellors, along with strong future growth opportunities.

Now that the effects of the virus are more widely known, it seems likely that large numbers of well-trained, talented counsellors will continue to be needed in the immediate future.

Upskilling to Become a Counsellor

Considering that many facets of the Australian economy have been contracting, counselling might seem to be an appealing vocation for would-be career changers to transition into. In general, the healthcare and social assistance sectors have proven to be amongst the more resilient Australian industries in the wake of COVID-19.

For many people, transitioning into this career would require some amount of training and upskilling.

This is particularly true for candidates who do not already hold a bachelor’s degree or VET qualification in a closely related subject such as counselling, psychology or social work.

At a minimum, employers typically prefer to hire counsellors who have at least a VET qualification or university degree; and some jobs might also require the successful candidate to hold a master of counselling degree.

Aside from the necessary training in the usual counselling techniques and ethical principles, there’s one additional skill a counselor needs in the post-COVID-19 environment: That is teleconferencing skills.

One of the most significant rising trends is the increasing use of telemedicine and teletherapy to deliver needed health consultations.

It is still possible for mental health counselling sessions to take place face to face or via telephone.

However, with the rise of popular conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Go2Meeting, it is now becoming increasingly common for counsellors to need experience with using these technologies.

Counselling: A Rewarding Career in the Age of Coronavirus

Mental health counselling offers a means for suitably trained individuals to help other vulnerable Australians with combating some of the despair and loneliness wrought by the Coronavirus.

This career also offers excellent prospects for lucrative pay and available work opportunities.

If you’re keen on the possibility of a future career in the allied health sector, counselling is definitely worth your consideration.

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