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Mental Health Case Manager Duties and Responsibilities

A mental health case manager’s duties vary based on their employer, their caseload, and the number of staff on their treatment team. These core job tasks, however, are common across all facilities:

Assess Patients Mental health case managers perform patient assessments to evaluate their state of mental health and ability to function in a real-world environment.

Manage Patient Files Mental health case managers add notes to patient records based on assessments and evaluations. They also review progress notes in patient files written by other members of the treatment team.

Create Patient Plans Mental health case managers create individualized patient plans designed to help them meet specific desired life goals. They coordinate with the rest of the mental health team, including doctors and nurses, to establish these plans.

Resolve Crises Mental health case managers resolve crisis situations involving patients as they arise.

Oversee Paperwork Mental health case managers oversee the completion of disability and insurance paperwork as needed.

Design Aftercare Plans Mental health case managers collaborate with the rest of the treatment team to design aftercare plans for patients who are being released from treatment soon.

Perform Home Visits Mental health case managers make home visits to released patients to check on their ongoing mental health and evaluate their progress.


Mental Health Case Manager Skills and Qualifications

Mental health case managers use strong interpersonal skills to communicate with patients and sharp analytical abilities to assess a patient’s mental state. Facilities that hire mental health case managers look for professionals who also display these skills:

  • Problem-solving skills – mental health case managers use problem-solving abilities to resolve issues with patients and manage crisis situations as they arise
  • Communication skills – strong communication skills are essential for mental health case managers, who write notes in patient files and verbally collaborate with the rest of the treatment team
  • Interpersonal skills – mental health case managers use interpersonal skills to develop relationships with patients and help them open up about their feelings
  • Critical thinking – mental health case managers apply critical and analytical thinking skills to evaluate patients professionally and guide them toward their life goals

Mental Health Case Manager Education and Training

Mental health case managers need a bachelor’s degree in social work, psychlogy, counseling, or a similar field of study. Many employers additionally require previous work experience in a mental health or clinical setting. A master’s degree can substitute for work experience among many employers. Because travel is a component of this job, mental health case managers must have a valid driver’s license. Because of the extensive education requirements needed for this job, mental health case managers do not receive much training. Instead, they go through a brief orientation period that usually lasts no longer than two weeks.


Mental Health Case Manager Salary and Outlook

Social workers, who perform similar work as mental health case managers, earn a median annual income of $47,980. PayScale shows that mental health case managers earn a median annual salary of $36,170. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this job field will increase 16 percent through 2026, a rate that is much faster than the national job growth average. Mental health case managers receive benefits packages that typically include healthcare, disability, and life insurance coverage. Retirement plans, vacation leave, and paid sick days are usually included in standard benefits packages for mental health case managers. Some facilities may provide additional perks such as free meals, free parking, and wellness program enrollment.


Helpful Resources

Discover networking events, career opportunities, job strategies, education tools, and other valuable information for mental health case managers with these resources:

Mental Health America – find careers for mental health

case workers and other mental health professionals, read up on news updates, find event dates, and take advantage of training and education programs with the resources at MHA

On Being and Having a Case Manager: A Relational Approach to Recovery in Mental Health – building client relationships is the focus of this book, which emphasizes communication techniques to help mental health case managers provide support and assistance to their patients

American Case Management Association – find certification programs, educational resources, and career opportunities at this website designed for mental health case workers and other professional case workers in all industries

CMSA’s Integrated Case Management: A Manual for Case Managers by Case Managers – case managers wrote this book specifically for other case managers as a reference manual offering job techniques for assessing patients, providing support, and managing common work tasks

National Association of Case Management – find jobs at the career center, stay up to date on news updates, get information about training programs, and find networking events at this website for case managers across the U.S.

Psychiatric Interviewing: The Art of Understanding – learn techniques for interviewing and assessing patients with the tips detailed in this guidebook, which provides advice for drawing information out of patients and helping them open up