County of Alameda

Mental Health Specialist I (#6490)

Bargaining Unit: SEIU 1021 - Hospital Para Prof (008)
$27.66-$32.87 Hourly / $2,074.50-$2,465.25 BiWeekly /
$4,494.75-$5,341.38 Monthly / $53,937.00-$64,096.50 Yearly

Under close supervision, to learn behavioral health counseling techniques; learn basic techniques and dynamics of group, individual, and peer counseling; participate as part of a treatment team; attend training, staff and community liaison meetings; and perform related duties as required.


This is a trainee classification. Incumbents hired at the Mental Health Specialist I level are expected to gain training and experience and demonstrate proficiency which would qualify for promotion to the next higher level of Mental Health Specialist II, the entry-level class where incumbents perform paraprofessional mental health counseling and treatment services.

NOTE: The following are the duties performed by employees in this classification. However, employees may perform other related duties at an equivalent level. Each individual in the classification does not necessarily perform all duties listed.

1. Attends regularly scheduled in-service training sessions and classes to learn terminology, technique, and application of mental health counseling and treatment of consumers.
2. Under close supervision, participate in individual and/or group mental health counseling to consumers and their families.
3. Assist in the facilitation of peer support groups, educational groups and classes for consumers.
4. Provide peer counseling and self-help services to mental health consumers as appropriate; assist clients to develop self advocacy, communication and empowerment skills; provide information and education to consumers on self-help services and activities.
5. Under close supervision, assist in determining health care and wellness needs of behavioral health consumers, assessing consumer needs and participating in the development of effective treatment plans.
6. Participate as an active member of treatment teams, including attendance at staff meetings, case conferences and other meetings as necessary.

Either I

The equivalent of six months of full-time supervised experience in nursing, counseling, or in delivering other social services which included mentally ill or emotionally unstable persons.


Successful completion of a training program designed to provide mental health consumers with the requisite knowledge and abilities.

Special Requirement:

In compliance with the Administrative Simplification provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), employees in this classification are required to possess a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number prior to their first day on the job.

In compliance with the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and the Federal Cures Act, Employees in this classification who are required to render direct specialty mental health services in the course of their assignment must successfully be enrolled in Provider Application and Validation for Enrollment (PAVE) web portal prior to commencing employment.

NOTE: The Civil Service Commission may modify the above Minimum Qualifications in the announcement of an examination.


NOTE: The level and scope of the following knowledge and abilities are related to duties listed under the “Examples of Duties” section of this specification.

Knowledge of:

• Emotional and social needs of mentally and emotionally disturbed individuals.
• Community resources available to meet the needs of mental health consumers.
• Peer/Self-help counseling techniques and motivational support techniques for helping behavioral health consumers.
• Principles and techniques of mental health treatment and recovery principles and practices.
• Appropriate coding, charting and documentation requirements.

Ability to:

• Relate and communicate effectively with behavioral health consumers.
• Work effectively with staff and consumers in treatment services and as a member of an inter-disciplinary team of behavioral health care providers.
• Provide a variety of mental health services to a varied caseload of consumers in outpatient settings.
• Interview and secure personal health and social information to help determine consumer needs.
• Write and speak effectively and write concise reports.

JF:kq  12-19-77
AM:jc  Revised 6/21/99
Old doc:  6490.doc
New doc:  6490.doc
CSC Date:  7/7/99
SG:po Revised 7/16/09
CSC Date:  8/12/09
RY: cs  Revised 7/8/13
CSC Date:   8/7/13   
 IL:saa Revised 3/16/23
CSC Date:06/14/23 


Alameda County offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that affords wide-ranging health care options to meet the different needs of a diverse workforce and their families. We also sponsor many different employee discount, fitness and health screening programs focused on overall well being.  These benefits include but are not limited to*:

For your Health & Well-Being

  • Medical – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Dental – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Vision or Vision Reimbursement
  • Share the Savings
  • Basic Life Insurance 
  • Supplemental Life Insurance (with optional dependent coverage for eligible employees) 
  • County Allowance Credit
  • Flexible Spending Accounts - Health FSA, Dependent Care and Adoption Assistance
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Voluntary Benefits - Accident Insurance, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity and Legal Services
  • Employee Assistance Program

For your Financial Future

  • Retirement Plan - (Defined Benefit Pension Plan)
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (457 Plan or Roth Plan)

For your Work/Life Balance

  • 12 paid holidays
  • Floating Holidays
  • Vacation and sick leave accrual
  • Vacation purchase program
  • Catastrophic Sick Leave
  • Group Auto/Home Insurance
  • Pet Insurance
  • Commuter Benefits Program
  • Guaranteed Ride Home
  • Employee Wellness Program (e.g. At Work Fitness, Incentive Based Programs, Gym Membership Discounts)
  • Employee Discount Program (e.g. theme parks, cell phone, etc.)
  • Child Care Resources
  • 1st United Services Credit Union 

*Eligibility is determined by Alameda County and offerings may vary by collective bargaining agreement.  This provides a brief summary of the benefits offered and can be subject to change.


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