Mental Health Specialist (Lead)

  • St. Joseph Center
  • 1450 20th Street, Santa Monica, CA, USA
  • Sep 08, 2020

Job Description

Job Summary

The Mental Health Specialist - Lead works as a team member with several social service professional and paraprofessional staff ensuring the delivery of quality care in accordance to the rules and regulations established as well as adhering to the mission of St. Joseph Center. 


The Lead Mental Health Specialist’s key areas of responsibility include: 

Key Areas of Responsibility:

  • Utilize a harm reduction and housing first model when working with clients to have a “No wrong door” approach to services
  • Provide mental health support to individuals
  • Provide mental health assessment and interventions to the severe and persistently mentally ill
  • Develop and maintain strong ties to the community, law enforcement, and other service providers
  • Provide weekly supervision to Case Managers
  • Oversee the timely submission of required documentation and outcomes for supervisees
  • Assist with maintaining all program and documentation requirements per funder, agency, and program, as needed
  • In the absence of the Program Manager, oversee essential daily duties (ie: lead team meetings, provide consultation as needed, etc.)

Essential Duties:

  • Build trust and rapport with individuals
  • Perform outreach and respond to referrals to assess client eligibility for program
  • Assist MHS I in conducting initial intake interviews; collect and complete all required agency and funder documents
  • Identify the potential needs for clients, including linkage to substance abuse treatment, medication, medical treatment, legal counseling, housing, public/private conservatorship, vocational assessment and training and/or any other needs
  • Assist with coordinating services with multidisciplinary team (mental health specialists, case managers, peer advocate, medical team, psychiatrists)
  • Provide bus tokens, bus passes, taxi vouchers, and/or direct transportation as needed
  • Assists with various clients as necessary
  • Participate in case conferencing meetings and other community meetings
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other service providers or programs
  • Utilize a harm reduction model when working with clients with chemical dependency or abuse issues
  • Participate in one-on-one supervision

Other duties and responsibilities may be assigned. The duties and responsibilities listed are designed to provide typical examples of the work performed; not all duties and responsibilities assigned are included here, nor is it expected that all similar positions will be assigned every duty and responsibility.


Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Must be highly motivated and a self-starter.  The ability to communicate with and relate to a diverse group of people including clients, community, and other staff.  Must have excellent organizational skills and the capability to work in a fast paced environment.  
  • Strong knowledge of homeless services and resources.  Demonstrated knowledge and experience with Harm Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, Critical Time Intervention, and Housing First.
  • Strong knowledge of case management principles and intervention techniques specific to hard-to-reach, difficult to serve populations.
  • The ability to conduct home and field visits.
  • A bilingual background is a plus.


  • Two years of experience post graduate school providing services to highly vulnerable populations.
  • Demonstrate experience with providing mental health assessments using diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV
  • Supervisory experience preferred.


  • Master’s Degree from an accredited college or university in social work, human services or a related field.

Direct Reports:

  • Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization’s policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include assisting program manager with interviewing and training employees; planning, assigning and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.

Computer Skills:

  • Proficiency in MS Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
  • Ability to use widely supported internet browsers.

Certificates, Licenses and Registrations:

  • BBS licensure or current registration may be required.
  • Valid California Class C Driver License or the ability to utilize an alternative method of transportation when needed to carry out job-related essential functions.
  • Valid automobile liability insurance.

Travel Requirements:

  • Travel to clients and transport clients as needed.
  • Travel to meetings at multiple St. Joseph Center sites and at community partner locations as needed.