Mental Health Specialist 1

Revised: 02/79, 09/16
FLSA: Exempt
EEO: 2

Class Characteristics

Under general supervision, to provide a variety of professional counseling and program services to individuals receiving mental health services and their families; to participate as an effective member on a diagnostic team of mental health professionals which conduct evaluations, service/treatment planning, and placement for clients; to participate in one or more programs within the system to provide services; and to do other work as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Mental Health Specialist series is primarily oriented to performing professional-level program services for clients in the local community.  Services include: family, group, and individual therapy, treatment planning and evaluation, and coordinating treatment or other educational/consultative services with community agencies and programs.

Mental Health Specialist 1 is the first working level in the Mental Health Specialist series.  Incumbents in this class are assigned a broad range of caseloads and duties involving assessment and treatment procedures, or consisting of severe mental/emotional/behavioral disorders which require a high level of proficiency for effective treatment. Incumbents are not considered independent practitioners as they are not licensed and service/treatment plans must be approved by a licensed mental health professional.

This class differs from the higher level Mental Health Specialist 2 which is a licensed Mental Health Professional.  Advancement to Mental Health Specialist 2 is predicated upon mental health licensure by a recognized governing board in Oregon. 

Typical Tasks

Duties may include but are not limited to:

  1. Assesses individuals receiving services through intakes and other interviews to determine diagnosis and treatment needs; collects and evaluates critical information presented by client or other informants; examines history and current mental status. 
  2. Recommends service/treatment plans for approval by a licensed Mental Health Professional to meet specific requirements of clients; reviews treatment options with client; prepares documents and findings in electronic clinical record in accordance with OAR and Division procedures.
  3. Provides planned individual, group and family psychotherapeutic services to clients and their families; enters and maintains documentation of services provided in electronic clinical record in accordance with OAR and Division procedures.
  4. Works as a key member of a diagnostic team consisting of physicians, psychologists, and other mental health professionals; makes referrals to other community clinics, agencies, or care facilities; reviews client status, diagnosis, evaluations, treatment plans, treatment objectives and outcomes with diagnostic team, supervisors and other health care professionals as appropriate; provides case-specific consultation to other staff members, providers, families and/or community agencies; provides clinical consultation to students, and volunteers.
  5. May work as a consultant or trainer to staff, student interns, volunteers, other individuals, other agency personnel, interested community groups or staff at institutions; provides mental health and chemical dependency education and training to other staff, outside professionals, family members and the community; may represent the agency on internal or external committees as appropriate; may act as liaison for specific projects or contract services.
  6. Prepares client evaluations, writes case summaries, reports, and letters and maintains case records; completes program-related assignments as required.
  7. May provide crisis assessment and intervention to individuals receiving services and residents of Clackamas County and their families via telephone, in clinics or in the community as part of a 24/7 crisis response system.

Required Knowledge and Skills

Working Knowledge of: Accepted principles and theories of human behavior, personality and development, and social interaction and development; techniques and procedures employed in diagnosing, evaluating, modifying and motivating human behavior; principles and techniques of group and individual therapy; principles and methods of community intervention; techniques of identifying and utilizing community resources; case management methods and techniques; rules, laws, regulations, and ethics governing the treatment of mental patients and clients; office equipment, including personal computers and software programs.

Skill to: Apply social and psychological theories of behavior and personality to the treatment of difficult mental and emotional disorders and handicaps; diagnose, evaluate and implement a treatment plan and monitor the client's progress toward established goals; analyze and evaluate social, psychological, and physical factors affecting clients and their families; treat clients and their families in order to enhance their social, psychological, and physical functioning; communicate effectively, both orally and  in writing; make formal presentations to the public, community groups, and other mental health professionals; work effectively as a member of a professional mental health team to diagnose and treat clients; keep accurate and timely records; operate computer software and other office equipment; establish and maintain effective relationships.

Working Conditions

Incumbents work with varied socioeconomic groups, the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled, alcohol and substance abusing clients and their families.

Other Requirements

Within four years of hire, incumbents must obtain licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Psychologist, or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). 

Meet the definition of Qualified Medical Health Professional (QMHP) by having the minimum education requirements as established by the State of Oregon Mental Health Division. 

Must possess and maintain a Basic Life Support (BLS) certificate.

May be required to participate in 24-hour/day crisis program services.

Must successfully pass a criminal history check which may include national or state fingerprint records check.

Must pass a pre-employment drug test.

Driving may be necessary for County business.  For position(s) with occasional/incidental driving, incumbents must possess a valid driver's license.  Accommodation requests for an acceptable alternative method of transportation will be reviewed on an individual basis in compliance with State and Federal legislation.  For position(s) with regular driving, incumbent(s) must also possess and maintain an acceptable driving record throughout the course of employment.

Minimum Recruiting Standards

Any satisfactory combination of experience and training which demonstrates possession of the required knowledge and skills.

Other Information

The Mental Health Specialist 1 is part of a promotional path.  Incumbents in the Mental Health Specialist 1 classification will be promoted to the Mental Health Specialist 2 classification upon satisfactory completion of an approved promotional plan, which includes obtaining licensure noted above within four years of hire.  
Edited: 05/20


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