Mental health is increasingly being recognized as equally important as physical health to our overall wellbeing, but it has not always been treated as such. Some experts think that we are seeing a global crisis of mental health problems and the practice of psychiatry has never been more needed.
A psychiatrist is a medical practitioner who specializes in treating mental health issues, behavioral problems, and emotional disorders. This may encompass schizophrenia, depression, and post-traumatic stress, as well as chemical dependency and substance abuse. A psychiatrist can provide counseling and prescribe medication. They can make diagnoses, and can order further tests, procedures and treatments if needed.
Qualifying as a psychiatrist
The only major downside to a career in psychiatry is that it takes a long time to qualify. You will need to take a medical degree and gain clinical experience before you specialize in psychiatry. At Wilkes University you can take an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to become a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner. To find out which medical schools offer Psychiatry programs, you can visit https://academicinfluence.com/
Although the cost of your education can add up, once you start practicing as a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse, you will find it is more than worthwhile. As of June 2022, the average annual salary of a psychiatrist in the US was $239,846. With further qualifications and research, the most highly paid psychiatrists could be looking at around $300,000 a year.
Always in demand
There is an acknowledged shortage of qualified psychiatrists, which means that once you start practicing, you will never be out of work. Unfortunately, mental health problems are on the increase, but thankfully we are also getting better as a society at recognizing and treating them. Helping people to work on their life problems, gain confidence, and confront their fears is extremely rewarding. Psychiatrists working in the public sector have long waiting lists of patients, while those with their own private practices also have full appointment books for months in advance.
Variety of opportunities
As a psychiatrist, you will be able to choose where and how you work, with a variety of institutions and specialisms available. As well as working in public and private hospitals, psychiatric practitioners are employed in community health centers, rehabilitation programs, private companies, and research facilities. The government, military and academia all have opportunities for psychiatrists.
You may choose to specialize in treating children and adolescents or working with the elderly. Forensic psychiatry, administrative psychiatry, and addiction psychiatry are other in-demand specialisms. You could focus on research or community work, act as a consultant, or set up your own practice.
Flexibility and control
All medical careers are demanding, but psychiatry offers more options and potential for a better work-life balance than many nurses and doctors enjoy. You will be able to mostly work to appointments rather than being on call. If you want to work from home, you can see patients remotely, using telepsychiatry, or set up a consultation room in your house.
Psychiatric practitioners enjoy a high level of status and prestige and are paid accordingly. Always in demand, they can choose their own specialisms and know that their work makes a genuine difference to people’s lives. If you feel the calling, psychiatry offers some of the most rewarding careers in any field.