SKILLS SHORTAGE LIKELY IN THE FACE OF LOOMING MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS
Australians encouraged to consider careers to help support Australia’s future mental health needs
According to new data released last month, there’s been a surge in the number of Australians accessing mental health services during the pandemic as well as a rise in self harm incidents presented to emergency departments and huge spikes in calls to support lines like Beyond Blue and Lifeline.
While it’s positive to see the Government address mental health issues in this year’s Federal Budget, academics at Australian tertiary education provider, Excelsia College believe more measures need to be taken to grow and upskill the nation’s mental health workforce in the face of ongoing uncertainty, unemployment and economic hardship.
Commenting on the significant toll and long-term implications the pandemic will have on mental health, Associate Professor Ebi Cocodia, Head School of Counselling at Excelsia College, is urging Australians to consider careers to help support and respond to the nation’s future mental health needs.
“Australians’ mental health is at a critical tipping point. The pandemic has already taken a significant toll on the mental health of Australians and the long-term implications are expected to be felt for many years to come. Now is the time to build and grow a workforce that will ready the country to deal not only with the long-term impacts of COVID-19, but also cater for unforeseen social and environmental stressors that will impact Australians’ wellbeing in the coming years.
“With unemployment on the rise and job prospects across some of the hardest hit industries diminishing, there’s a golden opportunity to encourage Australians to consider starting or transitioning to a career in mental health support services, like social work or counselling, to help curb mental health issues” she added.
Excelsia College, which offers graduate and master courses in counselling, has just launched its new School of Social Work to accommodate the strong prospects for growth in this field over the coming five to ten years.
Three reasons to consider a career in counselling or social work
- Drive meaningful change in your community: Careers in social work and counselling can be incredibly rewarding, equipping you with the skills and knowledge to help change lives by supporting and aiding people in times of need.
- Unlock a diverse range of job prospects: Counselling and social work allows you to move across the human services and work in a variety of roles and fields of practice. From child protection, to drug and alcohol services, mental health, rehabilitation, disability services, corrections and youth justice, private practice and more there is no shortage of choice. There is also a diverse range of roles available within these, including case managers, clinicians, researchers, community workers and more.
- The increasing need and demand provide job security: The number of jobs in counselling is expected to increase over the next five years substantially from 31,200 in 2019 to 38,000 in 2024. The same trend can also be seen for those considering a career in social work with an expected further 11,800 jobs by 2024. The increased need for these services means that job prospects in mental health and wellbeing services will continue to grow.
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