Mental illness clinical case managers work in both private and public clinics. As a case manager, you assess clients and work with counselors and other care providers to design treatment plans, set up referrals and choose the most suitable resources for clients' specific needs. You also follow clients’ progress to make sure they’re getting appropriate treatment.
Many mental health case managers are social workers. Although a bachelor degree in a field of behavioral sciences is acceptable to some employers, most prefer that you have a master’s degree in social services. Clinical social workers need to be licensed to practice, but case managers with social work degrees do not. A state license is available through the Association of Social Work Boards. This credential is optional in most states.
As the case manager, it’s your role to serve as the liaison between clients and mental health care providers. You’ll receive reports from counselors and social workers and follow up with clients to make sure they’re comfortable with their treatment. You’ll also set up and attend meetings with providers and clients as well as facility directors and community representatives.
It’s your job to keep everyone informed of the processes being used to treat clients on your caseload. You’ll inform clients about the options they have and educate family members when they’re involved in the ongoing treatment plans. You need to stay informed about new treatments, available resources and options available for your clients. You will also provide verbal and written information to clients and give them appropriate educational materials.
Case managers maintain files on clients and often are required to file insurance reimbursement requests. You’ll be expected to keep thoroughly documented files of every meeting you have with clients and their providers. Recordkeeping and reporting are important parts of your job, whether you work with families, adults, adolescents or children. In addition to maintaining reports for your clinic and insurance companies, you might have to give detailed files to conservatorships and other health care facilities. You’ll maintain client records for long periods of time until your clients are released from treatment or moved into more permanent, restrictive care environments, such as a long-term mental health facility.