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Careers in Suicide Prevention

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Feelings of depression are never a good feeling, but some people have such severe depression that they may eventually try to take their own lives. Sadly, thousands of Americans per year try to commit suicide, and some percentage of them succeed.

YouTube Special Feature

Suicide Prevention | Lynn Keane | TEDxYouth@Toronto. After the passing of her son, Lynn devoted her life to raising awareness of depression in the firm belief that reducing stigma can help save lives.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in America in 2009.

Suicide is never the answer to a problem, and it leaves only devastation and sadness in its wake. Family members are always tortured with memories and regrets and guilt.

Due to the immense problems that suicide causes in people’s lives, many people are drawn to careers to hopefully prevent suicide. This is a growing field of psychology that can lead to very rewarding careers both emotionally and financially.

Suicide counseling and/or prevention can be helpful to anyone who is thinking about taking his or her own life. It does take a special type of person to work in this field. Your strengths must include being non-judgemental, caring and empathetic. If you are considering a career in this field, below are some of the best careers to consider:

1. Suicide Prevention Counselor

A suicide prevention counselor is someone who is well educated in the field of psychology and personal counseling. You will most likely need to earn at least a master’s degree in psychology, with a strong emphasis on crisis counseling for both young people and adults. Teen suicide has become more common in recent years, so you will need a lot of training in how to work with teens with low self-esteem. You may work in a general hospital, psychiatric hospital or a mental health clinic.

2. Psychologist or Counselor

A psychologist or counselor studies the cognitive, emotional and social processes and human behavior, particularly related in this case to people who may be at risk of taking their own lives. A psychologist in this field will attempt to understand and explain the thoughts, feelings and emotions that may be leading to a person’s self-destructive tendencies.

The median pay in this field with a master’s degree is $69,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, becoming a psychologist in the specialized field of suicide prevention may provide you with the opportunity to make a real difference and also earn a good living.

3. General Social Worker

Social workers help people to cope with the problems in their lives. As a social worker, you will help a person with suicidal thoughts or past behaviors to better cope positively with challenges in their lives. A social worker may work with a child, teenager, adult or senior citizen who is at risk to take his or her own life.

You can start in this field with a bachelor’s degree, but you will likely need to earn at least a master’s degree to advance in the field.

The median pay in this field according to BLS is $44,000, and the top 10% with advanced degrees earn more than $70,000 annually.

4. Child and Family Social Worker

This type of social worker professional will provide vulnerable families and children help in preventing suicide. They may help the parents to find services that they need to deal with suicide-related issues. This might include child care services, or possibly to apply for many types of government benefits, such as welfare and food stamps.

5. Clinical Social Worker

This social services professional specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of many mental and behavioral problems that may ultimately lead to suicide if left untreated. Most often, a clinical social worker will work closely with a patient who suffers from severe depression and/or anxiety.

You will provide your at-risk patient with much needed family or individual therapy, and will help him to develop strategies to deal with his emotions and problems in a constructive fashion.

6. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor

Many people who may be contemplating suicide may have a substance abuse or behavioral disorder that causes them to want to hurt themselves. Some of the most common types of disorders you may deal with include drug addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders and other related behavioral problems.

Your job will be to provide treatment and support to help your patient to recover from their problem or addiction, and to stop looking at suicide as a final solution to a temporary problem.

Median pay in this field is $38,500.

7. Social and Community Service Manager

A social and community service manager coordinates and supervises social service and community programs that may work specifically in the areas of depression and suicide. These types of managers often work for a variety of non profit, social and government service organizations. They may focus on a particular area of social services, including suicide prevention.

The key role of someone in this position is to make their programs and services more effective for their constituents. You likely will need to gather statistics and information to evaluate how well your programs are working to prevent suicide.

The median salary in this field is nearly $60,000.

Hopefully, you can make a difference in the lives of people considering suicide by dedicating your career to one of these fields.

Keep in mind that you will earn more money in all of these fields by increasing your years of experience as well as your level of education. BLS statistics show that the top 10% in each of these fields will earn well over $70,000 with at least a master’s degree and higher with a PhD.

Resources:

For more about education around Suicide prevention, visit these great resources.

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