The Student Room Group

how can i get into mental health work?

hi, sorry this is going to be a long post but i've recently had a change of heart in what i want to do.

i wasn't sure what i wanted to do when picking my a levels but did not enjoy science so thought i wouldn't enjoy a career in it, so i did english lit, history and maths. i applied for law and have offers, and i an interested in the field academically, however ive never rlly had a strong desire to be a financial solicitor or anything corporate, ive always known i wanted to help people and thought i could do this in something like famiyl law do this is why i applied.

i used to want to do medicine for the same reason when i was younger, but was dissuaded as i didn't enjoy chemistry due to my teacher. however, ive come to the realisation i want to work in mental health as something like a psychiatrist. i really enjoy helping people and my friends soemtiems joke that i should become a therapist, and i would like to make a difference in peoples lives. however, i dotn have the right a levels to study medicine which is needed for psychiatry. i am open to pursuing similar careers in the field too, such as maybe psychology or therapy or mayeb social work or something like that? i woudl preferably still like to obtain my law degree as i find it interesting and want to keep my options open, so i was wondering if this is possible and what my steps would be? or if i should reapply to study another course.

thank you for reading :smile:
Original post by fionaspaperbag
hi, sorry this is going to be a long post but i've recently had a change of heart in what i want to do.

i wasn't sure what i wanted to do when picking my a levels but did not enjoy science so thought i wouldn't enjoy a career in it, so i did english lit, history and maths. i applied for law and have offers, and i an interested in the field academically, however ive never rlly had a strong desire to be a financial solicitor or anything corporate, ive always known i wanted to help people and thought i could do this in something like famiyl law do this is why i applied.

i used to want to do medicine for the same reason when i was younger, but was dissuaded as i didn't enjoy chemistry due to my teacher. however, ive come to the realisation i want to work in mental health as something like a psychiatrist. i really enjoy helping people and my friends soemtiems joke that i should become a therapist, and i would like to make a difference in peoples lives. however, i dotn have the right a levels to study medicine which is needed for psychiatry. i am open to pursuing similar careers in the field too, such as maybe psychology or therapy or mayeb social work or something like that? i woudl preferably still like to obtain my law degree as i find it interesting and want to keep my options open, so i was wondering if this is possible and what my steps would be? or if i should reapply to study another course.

thank you for reading :smile:


Hi there,

So, there are several options available to you. Jobs within the psychological profession are big cans of worms. Generally speaking, yes, you'll need a psychology degree (it will be a must for any job that has "psychologist" in its title), but for other professions, like counsellors or social workers, there are many routes, some of them bypassing psychology (and some of the routes also potentially bypassing university altogether, as far as I understand, but don't quote me on that!). A lot of therapist roles will require you to do training with nebulous entry requirements. Some of this training will be proper postgraduate study, some of it could be in the form of something akin to an apprenticeship and a degree in psychology might not be absolutely necessary... but this is as far as I remember from researching this ever so briefly a while ago, so I recommend you do your own research, and a good first port of call would be the NHS career website, specifically the psychological professions page.

Note though, that even though a psychology degree is a very handy thing to have, you can still study law (which is a very fun degree, I study psychology but you'll often catch me sneaking into law lectures because they're so good haha) and do a psychology conversion course/masters afterwards, which will be to all effects and purposes a psychology degree.

Hope this helps :smile:
SY
Original post by Scotland Yard


Hi there,

So, there are several options available to you. Jobs within the psychological profession are big cans of worms. Generally speaking, yes, you'll need a psychology degree (it will be a must for any job that has "psychologist" in its title), but for other professions, like counsellors or social workers, there are many routes, some of them bypassing psychology (and some of the routes also potentially bypassing university altogether, as far as I understand, but don't quote me on that!). A lot of therapist roles will require you to do training with nebulous entry requirements. Some of this training will be proper postgraduate study, some of it could be in the form of something akin to an apprenticeship and a degree in psychology might not be absolutely necessary... but this is as far as I remember from researching this ever so briefly a while ago, so I recommend you do your own research, and a good first port of call would be the NHS career website, specifically the psychological professions page.

Note though, that even though a psychology degree is a very handy thing to have, you can still study law (which is a very fun degree, I study psychology but you'll often catch me sneaking into law lectures because they're so good haha) and do a psychology conversion course/masters afterwards, which will be to all effects and purposes a psychology degree.

Hope this helps :smile:
SY


thank you so much, that's very helpful :smile:
Original post by fionaspaperbag
hi, sorry this is going to be a long post but i've recently had a change of heart in what i want to do.

i wasn't sure what i wanted to do when picking my a levels but did not enjoy science so thought i wouldn't enjoy a career in it, so i did english lit, history and maths. i applied for law and have offers, and i an interested in the field academically, however ive never rlly had a strong desire to be a financial solicitor or anything corporate, ive always known i wanted to help people and thought i could do this in something like famiyl law do this is why i applied.

i used to want to do medicine for the same reason when i was younger, but was dissuaded as i didn't enjoy chemistry due to my teacher. however, ive come to the realisation i want to work in mental health as something like a psychiatrist. i really enjoy helping people and my friends soemtiems joke that i should become a therapist, and i would like to make a difference in peoples lives. however, i dotn have the right a levels to study medicine which is needed for psychiatry. i am open to pursuing similar careers in the field too, such as maybe psychology or therapy or mayeb social work or something like that? i woudl preferably still like to obtain my law degree as i find it interesting and want to keep my options open, so i was wondering if this is possible and what my steps would be? or if i should reapply to study another course.

thank you for reading :smile:

Hi! So, at the end of the day, what you study is completely up to you and what would make you happy. With law, you could absolutely help people by going into family law as you said, you could also work with mentally ill individuals and help them through legal situations. Alternatively, you could go on to do a psychology conversion MSc after your law degree which would then give you access to careers in both fields. You could also look into working as legal advice for charities.
A psychology degree would give you a wide selection of career paths from therapy to research to youth work. You could also go on to do a DClinPsy and work as a clinical psychologist which is the closest to psychiatry you would likely be able to get without doing medicine.
My personal advice is just to go with what you think you would enjoy! There is little point doing a degree that you consistently dislike.
Best of luck with everything.
-Kat (2nd year psychology undergrad at Lancaster University)

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