Mental health illnesses are extremely difficult to manage, especially in these days of high stress. It does not take just one person to handle a patient who is suffering from a mental illness. Apart from mental health care providers, there are other people who are invaluable when it comes to delivery of mental health care – they are mental health coordinators.
As individuals who ensure that patients are provided with the type and level of care that they need and deserve, mental health coordinators often do the initial screening, making notes to determine what exactly is wrong with the picture, and then deciding who the patient should be seeing. Once a patient has been designated to a mental health care provider, it is the job of the mental health coordinator to ensure that he gets continuing care.
Not everyone can work as a mental health coordinator. The emotional demands of the job are high and you have to be completely stable yourself to be able to meet the emotional and mental needs of the patients that you look after. You will need a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the very least and you will have to be licensed in the state that you intend to work in.
Some important duties of a mental health coordinator include:
• Assess patients to determine advancement of mental illness and establish goals to reach in order to counter them
• Closely coordinate mental health care with patients’ primary care provider and mental health care provider
• Screen patients to decipher substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions brought on by physical conditions or life events
• Provide patient and family education to help come to terms with illnesses and respond effectively to treatments
• Focus on treatment adherence, side effects and efficacy of implemented treatment programs
• Provide psychotherapy using techniques such as behavioral activation and motivational interviewing
• Facilitate patient engagement and follow up by ensuring that all aspects of treatment are properly coordinated
• Track patient follow up and clinical outcomes using the facility’s patient scheduling database
• Observe patients for signs of improvement or deterioration and provide feedback to mental health care providers and also document these changes in the system
• Facilitate treatment modification or change programs for students who are not improving as desired by the initial program
• Assist in the implementation of relapse prevention plans for patients who are in remission
• Provide support in the development and implementation of behavior management plans