Mental Health Specialist

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

Job Description

Job Summary

The Mental Health Specialist I will be part of an interdisciplinary team that will conduct assertive mobile outreach to chronically homeless individuals on the streets in the Venice community and surrounding areas, and provide them with intensive services intended to engage them in the service continuum and ensure their linkage to services that enable them to become housing ready.  The Mental Health Specialist I 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 Mental Health Specialist I’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 services to individuals.
  • Develop and maintain strong ties to the community, law enforcement, and other service providers.
  • Provide mental health assessment and interventions to the severe and persistently mentally ill.

Essential Duties:

  • Implement case management service plan goals, emphasizing coordinated strategies for addressing mental health/substance abuse issues, relapse prevention, medication management, and any other risk factors that could impede permanent housing and provide ongoing assessment of client progress in attaining goals.      
  • Build trust and rapport with individuals.  Assess individuals the proper tool (i.e. Vulnerability Index (VI) SPDAT).
  • Utilize a harm reduction model when working with clients with chemical dependency or abuse issues.
  • Link clients to physical health, mental health, and other supportive services internally or externally.
  • Link clients to appropriate bridge/interim housing programs and assist them in completing required paperwork in order to enroll them in permanent housing-related programs.
  • Keep highly organized files for each client and enter appropriate data within agency and funder compliance.
  • Assist clients to enroll in mainstream benefits and obtain identification (i.e. California Driver’s License, Social Security Card).
  • Provide bus tokens, bus passes, taxi vouchers, and/or direct transportation as needed. 
  • Participate in case conferencing meetings and other community meetings.
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other service providers or programs.
  • Participate in one-on-one or group clinical supervision as needed.

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.


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


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

Direct Reports:

This position has no direct supervisory responsibilities. 

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