I work in mental health, in an acute care inpatient facility. I have a Bachelors and am finishing a long, drawn out MSW. I would recommend completing your BA/BS in a field like psychology or social work and trying to do any internships/practicum in mental health agencies or hospitals. Once you have experience, you most likely will be able to find work even with just a bachelors. This can be helpful as you work towards a masters degree! In particular, working with adults with severe and persistent mental illness or children with social and emotional disorders are two areas that very much look for prior experience in job applicants.
The positive in going into this field is that you will never want for a job. I have moved a lot, and I have always been able to find good jobs within weeks of moving to a new town.
And the pay is not terrible, really. With a master's, depending on where you live, you can expect to make around $20/hour working for an agency. If you become licensed and do individual/family/group therapy there is potential to make a lot more.
I would recommend an MSW. Right now, the way Medicare rules are written, MS in Counseling cannot bill as independent practitioners, while LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Workers) can. When it comes to being hired by an agency or hospital, either degree is fine, but if you ever wanted to go out on your own and start a practice, you would want an LCSW.
The negatives are just like any service field - stressful work often in broken/ineffective systems. Working with adults with severe and persistent mental illness can be challenging in that progress is in small steps, and often three steps forward, two steps back, with lots of setbacks along the way. But if you can find an agency or practice that works compassionately and effectively, it can be incredibly rewarding to feel that you are doing some good for a population who has been marginalized and mistreated for far too long.
...the cuties in my avatar are my wonderful, c-section born, fully vaccinated sweethearts...