Mental health should be one of the priorities that any person gives attention to. Much like we take care of our physical body to maintain its health and fitness, we should also be doing it with our minds. But given that you are interested in becoming a mental health counselor (or you already are), you already know that - you even advocate for it. Now, there’s a certainty that we share a common interest in making people be aware of how important mental health is. And in ensuring that we do as much as we can in promoting ways people can check up on their mental health and how they can keep it fit and healthy. That’s where the role of a mental health counselor - you, comes in. Now, our contribution is to help you become exactly that. On the other hand, if you are already a licensed mental health counselor, we would like to help you reach more people to help by telling you what your website needs to be the best it can be.
What is a Mental Health Counselor?
A licensed mental health counselor works towards helping people live a more peaceful and meaningful life. Their clients, or patients, are dealing with behavioral, emotional, and behavioral issues. Usually, when you become a mental health counselor, clients would come and see you for a couple of hours on certain days that both of you agreed on. What you deal with regularly usually varies depending on the type of clients you take on. Not all of your clients necessarily have mental illnesses; some of them just need your help getting through a rough patch. Some clients come in to be diagnosed; others need you to guide them in dealing with their issues or to assist them in addressing and combating their trauma. Going to a mental health counselor requires a whole lot of courage, and so keep in mind that some of your clients need more of your time and attention but that all of their issues and experiences are equally important and valid.
While it is a big part of the role of a mental health counselor, like you, to talk and communicate well with patients, there is usually more listening and taking detailed notes about your sessions with your clients. It is part of your job to catch symptoms of mental illnesses, to unpack and identify their triggers, and plan the course of their treatments. Treatments may involve medications, support groups, daily sessions, or other kinds of therapy. However, note that even though you are a mental health counselor, it is not within your authority to write out prescriptions for medications. Rather than writing it yourself, you usually have a team of licensed psychiatrists and other doctors to write it for your clients. Additionally, it is also your job as a licensed mental health counselor to educate and inform your clients about everything they need to know. It is important to remember that they are not as familiar with all the specifics and details of mental health, so make sure to use words that they understand so that they do not feel alienated. Overall, it is your responsibility as a mental health counselor to take care of your clients and ensure that they feel safe and protected whenever they are with you.
How to Become a Mental Health Counselor?
Becoming a mental health counselor is not an easy feat. But if this is something you are truly passionate about, each day you spend studying and working towards it is worth every minute.
1. Get An Undergraduate Degree
To start your journey on becoming a mental health counselor, you need to have a relevant undergraduate degree. This would allow you to get a master’s degree to become a licensed mental health counselor. Your undergraduate degree is your foundation for all other more advanced and future studies. While some graduate programs accept undergraduates of courses unrelated to mental health counseling, it probably would be best for you to take something that will already move you towards becoming the best mental health counselor you can be. Some of the undergraduate degree programs that you can take are Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Human Studies, Education, etc. These programs usually include the general core courses you need like Introduction to Psychology, History, and Systems of Psychology, Theories of Personality, Human Development, and Approaches to Counseling and Therapies. This part of your journey usually takes about four years to complete.
2. Earn A Master’s Degree
Before you become a mental health counselor, you also need a master’s degree. This will make you eligible to take the licensure examinations. A master’s degree will take you about two to three years. Here, you will dig deeper into what mental health is and what mental health counseling is all about. You should already have advanced knowledge about counseling and counseling psychology and its research and practice aspects by the end of this. You also should already be able to understand people of all ages and of different cultural backgrounds. A master’s degree program lets an aspiring mental health counselor take courses about the ethical issues of counseling for mental health and wellness, theory and process, types of counseling, behavioral sciences research, evaluations, group dynamics, foundations of counseling, human growth, and development, etc. The two to three years you would spend here involve classroom discussions and lectures and some hands-on experience in the field.
After completing your undergraduate degree and master’s degree, you now need to get yourself involved in the field you are planning to work on. You now will need to experience some of the work that you would do as a mental health counselor. You would need to serve a certain number of clinical hours. This is a prerequisite in taking the licensure examinations. Internships and clinical work would allow you to see an already licensed mental health counselor in action. So besides it being necessary to work for your license, it is already a good opportunity to learn hands-on. It would be an excellent way to find out what kind of cases you are most interested in handling and get more perspectives about mental health and the different treatments and counseling you need to do.
4. Pass The Licensure Examinations and Get Your License
After you have completed all the requirements, you are now ready to take the licensure examinations. Specific examinations are required in different states and places. Usually, you can become a licensed mental health counselor by passing the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and/or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). This is the most common examination that you need to take and pass before applying for your license. However, take note that sometimes it varies depending on where you are and where you plan to practice, so make sure that you get all the necessary information. You don’t want to miss out on your chances of becoming a mental health counselor just because you missed a few details and information. Getting your license usually requires a fee, and it usually needs to be renewed every few years. So you should also be aware of how you will renew your license once you get a hold of it.
What You Should Include in Your Mental Health Counselor Website?
Now that you are a licensed mental health counselor (Congratulations!), you can get clients to help and take care of. If you already have an established practice, you can expand your reach by building a mental health counselor website of your own. This can be highly beneficial both for you and any potential clients needing a mental health counselor like you but who has no idea how to find you.
The first thing your future clients see when they visit your website is your banner image. So make sure that it is something that will encourage them to go on and explore your website. It helps that it be serene and comforting to look at. You don’t want your first impression to be bad.
What they hear from you for the first time means a lot to them. As their potential mental health counselor, you want them to feel that you are accommodating and willing to listen immediately. You can best do this by putting a good welcoming statement and headline along with your banner image.
3. Contact Information and Forms
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Another vital element that your mental health counselor website should include is your contact information. It encourages your potential clients to reach out to you even more because they know where and how to contact you. You can directly put it on your website or put links that would immediately allow them to contact you - whether that is through email, phone, or your social media accounts.
4. About You and Your Specialties
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It also helps that you put in information about who you are and what you do best. You can put some background information about yourself - your educational background, your experiences as a mental health counselor and person, and maybe even some personal information about yourself. It can also make an impact for you to enumerate your specialties so that your potential clients are more confident when they ask you.
Some websites are already integrating a calendar on their pages. This allows you to plot your already existing schedule. This would prove beneficial because your potential clients can already see what available dates they can pick to schedule. This will also give them a sense of how hard you work as a mental health counselor.
6. Call-to-Action Button
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Lastly, you need to include a call to action button on your website. As a mental health counselor, you have to be as encouraging as you can be. Your call to action button would lead your potential clients directly to connect and communicate with you.
Mental health and mental health counseling are not as popular as physical health and physical health physicians. That’s a reality that the society of today is trying so hard to change. That’s why people like you who are working towards becoming a mental health counselor or are already working as one deserves our gratitude and support. Thus, if you need a website for your mental health counselor career, Strikingly is ready to help you! You can sign up now and let us help you in taking care of more and more people.