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A look at employment and wages of mental health workers for Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 03, 2022

One in five U.S. adults lived with a mental illness in 2020, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. That includes nearly one-third of young adults ages 18–25. About 1 in 18 adults was affected by serious mental illness. In 1990, Congress established the first week in October as Mental Illness Awareness Week to provide education and increase awareness about mental illness. In honor of Mental Illness Awareness Week, we look at employment and wages for psychologists, counselors, and other workers who provide mental health services.

With May 2021 employment of nearly 400,000, social and human service assistants was the largest occupation providing mental health services. Although these workers assist providers in delivering a wide variety of social and human services, those services may include family therapy, behavioral disorder counseling, and other services related to mental health. Child, family, and school social workers (340,050); substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors (310,880); and educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors (296,370) were also among the largest occupations associated with mental health services.

Employment for occupations providing mental health services, May 2021
Occupation Employment

Social and human service assistants

398,380

Child, family, and school social workers

340,050

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors

310,880

Educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors

296,370

Healthcare social workers

173,860

Mental health and substance abuse social workers

113,810

Psychiatric technicians

93,410

Rehabilitation counselors

90,310

Community health workers

61,010

Clinical and counseling psychologists

58,100

School psychologists

57,110

Marriage and family therapists

54,800

Social workers, all other

49,730

Psychiatric aides

39,140

Counselors, all other

29,480

Psychiatrists

25,520

Psychologists, all other

13,800

Psychiatrists, with an annual mean wage of $249,760, was the highest paying mental health services occupation. After psychiatrists, the highest paying mental health services occupations were several types of psychologists: clinical and counseling psychologists ($99,640); psychologists, all other ($98,010); and school psychologists ($82,770). The lowest paying mental health services occupations were psychiatric aides ($34,640) and psychiatric technicians ($38,000), both with annual mean wages below the U.S. average of $58,260 for all occupations.

Annual mean wages for occupations providing mental health services, May 2021
Occupation Annual mean wage

Psychiatrists

$249,760

Clinical and counseling psychologists

99,640

Psychologists, all other

98,010

School psychologists

82,770

Educational, guidance, and career counselors and advisors

63,090

Social workers, all other

63,010

Healthcare social workers

62,310

Marriage and family therapists

59,660

Mental health and substance abuse social workers

57,800

Child, family, and school social workers

54,880

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors

53,490

Counselors, all other

49,730

Community health workers

47,780

Rehabilitation counselors

44,740

Social and human service assistants

40,460

Psychiatric technicians

38,000

Psychiatric aides

34,640

These data are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program. Interested in a career providing mental health services? See the Occupational Outlook Handbook for more information about these and other careers.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, A look at employment and wages of mental health workers for Mental Illness Awareness Week at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/a-look-at-employment-and-wages-of-mental-health-workers-for-mental-illness-awareness-week.htm (visited February 05, 2023).

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