Army Mental Health Specialist Career Information, Jobs, Degrees & Training Programs

Army mental health specialists play an important role providing outpatient and inpatient mental health services. They work with soldiers under the direction of psychologists, psychiatric nurses, or Army psychiatrists.

The following are typical duties of Army Mental Health Specialists:
  • Collect and record data
  • Assist with treatment administered to patients struggling with substance abuse, depression, and mental health disorders
  • Counsel soldiers suffering with depression and anxiety
  • Meeting with soldiers who've considered suicide
  • Interviewing soldiers
  • Administering aptitude and personality tests
  • Assessing whether soldiers have experienced organic brain damage
The Army is currently recruiting mental health specialists to increase the accessibility of mental services for soldiers. Many service members have served multiple tours, experienced combat, and struggle with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When PTSD and other mental health problems are not addressed, soldiers often succumb to substance abuse, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Mental health specialists are responsible for identifying soldiers struggling with these problems and referring them to professionals trained to treat them. During 2009, the Army reported that nearly 30 percent of soldiers struggled with some type of emotional or mental health disorder, and 133 Army personnel committed suicide.

Mental health specialists frequently organize and manage suicide prevention initiatives to decrease suicide throughout the Army. Whenever they're assigned to combat zones, these specialists provide stress reduction instruction. Mental health specialists are frequently embedded with units assigned to remote outposts in dangerous areas. They can also be found at military base hospitals, veterans' hospitals, Army correctional facilities, and deployment centers.

The Army offers many incentives to recruit mental health specialists. They also provide training, which can be applied in the civilian world. In fact, Army mental health specialists often land great jobs, including psychiatric aide and caseworker jobs, once their military commitment ends. Jobs can also be found at drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, counseling centers, medical clinics, and hospitals.

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