The different roles of mental health professionals



MENTAL health has been a hot topic in recent months in Malaysia and other countries in part because of the pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic.

If people suddenly had to see a mental health professional, here are some tips on what they should consider.

Most high-performing adults would need the services of a professional counselor to meet their mental health needs as they face life stressors such as relationship problems, isolation due to the pandemic, grief over the loss of a loved one, mild depression, mild anxieties and social discrimination.

Counselors are trained to help their clients overcome barriers in the mind using talk therapy, which has several bases. These include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Person-Centered Therapy, Systemic Family Therapy, Art Therapy, and Humanistic Therapy. These approaches are usually sufficient to help people overcome their mental barriers and achieve well-being, especially if they practice the strategies taught to them in counseling sessions.

There will be a small percentage of society that may need further mental health assessments to diagnose their mental health problem. These are usually more serious problems, which can include anxiety attacks, mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, eating disorders such as anorexia, psychoses such as schizophrenia and even developmental disorders or intellectual disabilities.

These people should see a qualified clinical psychologist to perform a formal mental assessment and provide an initial diagnosis. A formal diagnosis is usually required for medical purposes for additional testing and insurance claims, as well as for legal matters such as assessing the mental state of a victim of crime or even a criminal.

Many healthcare professionals move away from formal diagnosis, unless absolutely necessary, due to

the stigma associated with mental health disorders.

Clinical psychologists can also organize a treatment plan for most diagnoses using evidence-based talking therapies such as CBT or psychotherapy.

And there will be those who would need to see a psychiatrist. Individuals in this group tend to have more psychiatric mental health issues such as major depressive disorder, panic disorder, psychosis, hallucinations, eating disorders, etc. This category of individuals may require medical interventions such as pharmaceutical drugs to help them with their mental health. concerns.

Psychiatrists are physicians who are primarily trained to treat the brain as an organ that works chemically in tandem with the treatment of the mind. However, they can also help clients with mental health issues, such as bereavement or marriage issues (using non-medical approaches such as psychotherapy).

These three mental health professionals work in collaboration with each other. For example, if you do a

appointment with a counselor but he / she feels you may need further medical intervention or a formal diagnosis, he / she will refer you to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. Likewise, if you see a psychiatrist who feels that you do not need medical intervention such as pharmaceutical drugs, they may refer you to a clinical psychologist or counselor for talk therapy or psychotherapy. Whatever your needs, these professionals are here to help.


Postgraduate student in vocational guidance

Subang Jaya



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