What Is Psychopathology?

A mental health professional takes notes on a patient’s symptoms on a tablet.
A mental health professional takes notes on a patient’s symptoms on a tablet.

Nurses interested in studying and treating mental health issues may be drawn toward careers in mental health and clinical care, such as psychiatric mental health nursing. Also known as the scientific study of mental illness, professionals working in this field provide treatment to patients of all ages in a variety of environments, including inpatient care facilities, in-office appointments and telehealth platforms.

The nationwide shortage of nurses and mental health professionals worsened after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to persist. RNs interested in helping to address this shortage should begin by developing the clinical knowledge to succeed. Completing an advanced education, such as an online Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, can prepare graduates to pursue nurse practitioner jobs in this field. 

Types of Psychopathology

Students interested in learning more about what psychopathology is should know that professionals working in this area are trained to treat and diagnose a wide variety of mental health conditions. Some of the most common examples and types of psychopathology include the following:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Dissociative disorders

The Role of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners in Diagnosing and Treating Psychopathology

Psychiatrists and medical doctors also treat patients struggling with mental health disorders, but psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) play an increasingly important role. PMHNPs assess and treat patients’ mental health needs, in many states prescribing medication and providing therapy. 

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners reports that most full-time PMHNPs see approximately 15 patients each day. Additionally, PMHNPs in telehealth can work with patients in areas with limited geographical access to in-person visits, which may help both address the mental health professional shortage and accelerate patients’ treatment.

Work Environments, Salary Ranges and Job Growth Projections for PMHNPs

Professionals interested in learning more about what psychopathy is and how it’s treated should know that PMHNPs work in a variety of settings. The most common work environments for PMHNPs include the following:

  • Public, private and government hospitals
  • Outpatient treatment centers
  • Community care clinics 
  • Behavioral health clinics
  • Psychiatric mental health facilities
  • Private practice
  • Group medical practices

The hours worked by PMHNPs can vary depending on their place of employment. For example, whereas professionals in private practice may work standard business hours, Monday through Friday, PMHNPs employed at facilities that provide 24-hour care may need to work nights, weekends, holidays or overtime shifts. 

PMHNP Salary Ranges

The median base salary for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners was around $116,000 in March 2023, according to Payscale, with earners in the top 10th percentile reporting earnings of more than $147,000. Salaries can vary widely based on factors such as an individual’s experience level, the facility they work for and the geographical region in which the position is located. 

PMHNP Job Growth Projections

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have a standalone category for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners but reports that job growth for nurse practitioners overall is projected to increase 46% between 2021 and 2031, much faster than the job market as a whole, adding 112,700 jobs by 2031. 

Earn Your BSN-MSN/PMHNP and Pursue a Career in Psychopathology

The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that one in five U.S. adults struggle with mental health issues each year. Are you ready to pursue nurse practitioner specialties that help address the national shortage of mental health professionals? Discover how an online BSN to MSN-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree from Spring Arbor University can prepare you to work with patients seeking help. 

Recommended Readings

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner vs. Psychiatrist
AANP vs. ANCC Certification: Which Exam Is Right for You?
Top Nursing Tools for Success

American Psychiatric Association, Behavior Disorder
American Psychiatric Association, Frequently Asked Questions
American Psychiatric Association, What Are Anxiety Disorders?
American Psychiatric Association, What Are Dissociative Disorders?
American Psychological Association, Psychopathology
Payscale, Average Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners
Verywell Mind, “Psychopathology: Definition, Types and Diagnosis”