Mental health is a complex phenomenon and needs a holistic approach in order to be holistic. There are so many layers to the mind – of thoughts, of feelings, and the effect of our social and physical environment.
There is also the biological base in terms of brain growth and neurochemical balances.
Below some of the main mental health professionals are mentioned along with their role.
This professional is perhaps the most well-known because of Sigmund Freud and movies.
A counsellor or a therapist has received some training in psychology and/or human development and tops it up by learning counselling skills.
There is a debate whether counsellor and therapist means the same thing, some say that counselling maybe for shorter periods and everyday issues, while therapy is long-term and intense, and may look at deep-seated issues.
Clinical psychologist deal majorly with psychological testing and treatment of a range of psychiatric diagnoses.
They receive special training in testing and psychopathology. They are more likely to work in clinic or hospital setups.
For example, for a person suffering from depression, they may give them a test to see the level of depression and design the intervention according to it, like working on the negative thought cycle, behavioural activation and so on.
Psychiatrists have a medical training, a general MBBS followed by an MD or a relevant degree.
They study about the brain and its mechanisms in detail, as well as the various disorders and psychiatric medicine and what it would help with.
Ideally, psychiatrists work along with psychologists and counsellors so that both the thinking patterns as well as the biochemistry can be tackled.
Occupational and speech therapist:
Occupational and speech therapy may be required for certain mental health concerns, especially those which affect children, like autism, ADHD and other pervasive developmental disorders.
These professionals work on the fine motor and gross motor skills of the child so that he gains more control on his limbs and muscles and also manages all the excessive energy in case of ADHD.
Speech therapy helps to tackle issues that may occur with regards to language and speaking because of slow brain development
Psychiatric social worker:
Psychiatric social workers help to get people with mental illnesses their rights, including jobs and self-respect.
They know about organizations that work with patients of mental illness and help them out.
Often, they may also tackle the family and let them know what their duties and responsibilities are.
They help in the care of someone who may be extremely affected by mental illness and is bed-ridden or not functional.
They are trained in how to take care of a person who is suffering from a mental illness.
Couple and Family Therapist:
These professionals work with the communication patterns and boundaries with a couple or a family.
They do not look at any one person as sick but rather, they think of the system as faulty and try to change the system from within for everyone’s health.
These professionals are not very common unless there is a memory deficit or coordination issue.
They do the testing for memory and coordination and then help to address these issues.
They may work with traumatic brain injury, dementia, parkinsons’ and alzheimers, among others.