Mental Health Counselor  What They Do

Just the Facts


Mental Health Counselors Career Video



Counsels with emphasis on prevention. Works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.

This career is part of the Human Services cluster Counseling and Mental Health Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Maintains confidentiality of records relating to clients' treatment.
  • Encourages clients to express their feelings and discuss what is happening in their lives, helping them to develop insight into themselves or their relationships.
  • Collects information about clients through interviews, observation, or tests.
  • Assesses patients for risk of suicide attempts.
  • Fills out and maintains client-related paperwork, including federal- and state-mandated forms, client diagnostic records, and progress notes.
  • Prepares and maintains all required treatment records and reports.
  • Guides clients in the development of skills or strategies for dealing with their problems.
  • Counsels clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
  • Performs crisis interventions with clients.
  • Develops and implements treatment plans based on clinical experience and knowledge.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Behavior Analyst --
  • Behavior Support Specialist (BSS) --
  • Case Manager -- Deals with individuals involved in accident claims to ensure that the individual receives the best possible options.
  • Clinician --
  • Correctional Counselor --
  • Counselor --
  • Mental Health Specialist -- Performs an assessment of the patient's mental state and then may recommend a treatment or refer the patient to a psychiatrist who can also prescribe medicine.
  • Mental Health Therapist -- Works with clients who are dealing with a range of emotional or psychological conditions.
  • Therapist --