Emerging courses: Psychology is going to be the next big thing, post-COVID

One can have excellent career opportunities, which range from research to teaching and to private practice as a consultant or a counsellor in a clinical setup with a psychiatrist.

— Written by Monica Chaudhary

In 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had labeled India as the “most depressing country in the world” and it was stated that one in seven people suffer from some kind of mental illness.

Now the pandemic has hurt many at the social level even to a stage of trauma. Moving on and fighting this stress will not be easy for all and will need an additional support system. The Indian Psychiatry Society had reported an increase of 20 per cent mental illness within one week of the lockdown.

Unemployment, economic hardship, and fear of illness are only going to increase the stress levels. People who are already dealing with anxiety or stress are more prone during this time.

There are only 9000 psychiatrists available for 1.3 billion Indians and less than seven psychologists available for a population of 10 million, as per the WHO report in 2017. This gap is huge and is expected to widen more if the young adults do not choose to enter into this profession.

Many more will now need professional psychological advice and delay in seeking or disregarding it will have a snowballing impact. It is time for wellbeing and demand for emotional support services. This gap has to be narrowed down and there should be deliberation on encouraging more students to join this stream in higher education.

What is Psychology?

Psychology is all about helping people learn to live and manage different conditions in their lives. The stigma is not only for patients but also for aspiring students to opt for this as a career. On the contrary, it is an ideal career to be in. It can be a life-changer for the patient and as a career option for the coming days.

A specialisation in Psychology comes in as a Bachelor’s degree programme after class 12 and any students from any stream can pursue the course. A Master’s degree as specialisation in a particular domain is also available. After class 12, one can pursue BSc, BA, BSc (Psychology) or Bachelor of Science in Psychology as an undergraduate course. The duration of BSc Psychology is three years and the syllabus for the course is divided into six semesters. It provides many job opportunities to the candidates after its completion; one can also pursue a two-years Masters in Psychology.

George Mason University US, Carroll University, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge are famous names and offer excellent psychology programmes.

After completion of the above programme, one can have excellent career opportunities which range from research to teaching and to private practice as a consultant or a counsellor in a clinical set up with a psychiatrist. Here is a listing of career options after degree courses –

1 Clinical psychologist, clinical counsellor, community counsellor
2 Neuropsychology
3 Cognitive psychology
4 Developmental psychology
5 Social psychology
6 Organisational Psychology
7 School psychology, educational and Mental retardation
8 Criminal psychologist
9 Forensic Psychologist
10 Learning disorders therapist
11 As an academician
12 As a researcher

So, options are limitless and it is now an individual’s vision to identify the right opportunity. The salaries are also reasonable, to begin with and the sky is the limit in practice and consultancies.

— The author is director, Sushant School of Health and Sciences

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