A couple of years ago, United States presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said that climate change was the biggest threat to the world. He made an interesting statement that climate change was partially responsible for the rise of ISIS and other terrorist groups in the Middle East. He argued that it led to food insecurity and other issues.
However, the climate change epidemic is hitting hard at home as well. It is taking its toll on the mental health of citizens in countries such as the US and UK.
How Does Climate Change Affect Mental Health?
Last October, Psychiatric Times published an article on the implications of climate change for mental health. They pointed out that this is an issue that has mostly been discussed in politics, but is finally starting to be addressed in the mental health community.
This is an issue that mental health providers across the UK must deal with. How are they going to address it?
How Mental Health Professionals Address Climate Change Threats to Mental Health
One in four citizens in England are experiencing some sort of mental health dilemma. People who have serious mental illnesses end up dying 15-20 years earlier on average. These astounding facts, as well as the recent surge of celebrities sharing their own stories, have attracted much awareness for mental illness and its pervasiveness.
Due to the rising demand for mental health-related services due to climate change threats, being a social worker is one profession that has a profoundly positive impact on the world. The prospects have proven to be hopeful for recent grads, because more than 20,000 social workers are working with adults around England. The projections show that between a quarter and a third of that number works in the field of mental health. Vacancy rates for adult social workers came in at a little under 7% during 2013.
Social workers serve in varied positions. They help service users directly, acting as proponents with other healthcare specialists, including working with the community in a wider sense such as service users’ families, courts and the police. Although social work requires a good amount of listening and understanding, it also entails negotiation and analysis as well.
So, what’s the simplest way to get started in the profession that is being haunted by the ills of global warming? Follow this step-by-step guide:
The first thing you want to do is acquire some type of relevant experience. Qualifications from certain first-hand experience serves as a great first step—like getting accepted into mental health courses. Undergrads will have to complete a three-year BA program in social work. This is provided by over 75 universities just in the UK alone. Graduates from various other programs can begin a two-year MA education from one of over 50 colleges.
The competition for such institutions can be troublesome and every school is going to be searching for candidates who offer evidence that shows they have the communication skills and empathy to hold a position that inspires a broad variety of people. This isn’t to mention the resilience to cope under stress and the capacity to examine data that is needed.
You could also think about applying to one of the discriminatory fast-track courses, combining a master’s degree with concentrated on-the-job training.
Mental health courses provide a foundation in every aspect of social work and involve both work placements and academic training. This preparation is crucial as you go on to develop your knowledge and skills to obtain a Health and Care Professions Council approved qualification. This is one of the requirements you need before you can enroll with them to practice social work.
Mental health problems will be more prevalent as climate change worsens. You must be able to cope with them.
2. Work History
The most popular methods of finding experience include volunteering for a foundation like Turning Point or Mind, helping in a hospital or finding a mentor doing mental health work. This might not be required to get into every kind of social work higher-learning, but it’ll definitely serve as a way for you to familiarize yourself with the intricacies and variety of work in mental health—whether it turns out to be right for you or not. This is another issue that will be more important as climate change escalates.
3. Getting Hired
After you’ve gotten the proper qualifications and experience, your last measure is to find work. The majority of social workers in mental health are hired by NHS mental health trusts or regional authorities to work in community mental health groups, but people are also employed within the private sector or charities. The average salary for entry-level positions is in the ballpark of £21,500/year outside of London and almost £26,000 around inner London. Freshly-qualified mental health workers engage with an Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) examination under the direction of a more mature social worker.
Although you need to be prepared for the threat of climate change to mental health, make sure you don’t vocalize it during the interview. Some people in the profession are wary of climate activists.
4. Change the World
Mental health social workers have the ability to impact people dealing with these problems in one of the most directly positive ways possible with clinical professionals. Russell White, a mental health professional working with the North Essex Foundation Trust, affirms that mental health work isn’t ever boring, surely challenging, and is wonderful opportunity to develop relationships to help people live fulfilling and independent lives.
With the increase in demand for mental health services, there’s also a clear need for high-quality social workers. It’s an enormously fulfilling career path and each day is something new. It’s never been a more satisfying experience to become a mental health social worker than it is today.
Be Ready to Handle the Threats of Climate Change as a Mental Health Provider
Mental health problems will be more common than ever as climate change escalates. Make sure that you know what to be prepared for.