Behavioral Health Specialist

County of Santa Barbara
Full Time 24 per week $80,706 - $96,890 Per year CA Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, 300 N San Antonio Rd, Santa Barbara, CA 93110, United States


Notice of Change:

This recruitment will be posted continuously until position(s) are filled


$38.67 - $46.42 Hourly

$80,706.84 - $96,890.37 Annually

We are seeking a compassionate and skilled Behavioral Health Specialist to join our team. In this role, you'll provide brief, evidence-based interventions within our primary care clinic, supporting patients in addressing behaviors impacting their health.
The Public Health Department is currently accepting applications to fill one (1) full-time vacancy for a Behavioral Health Specialist, as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Psychologist, to serve at our Lompoc Health Care Center in Lompoc.
NOTE: We are also accepting applications to establish an employment list for future Full-Time, Part-Time, Extra Help and 1414* vacancies for Behavioral Health Specialists in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, and Lompoc.
*Civil Service Rule 1414. Appointment to Fill Vacancy During Leave of Absence. 1414 vacancies may occur as a result of a leave of absence and the duration of the appointment shall be subject to the return of the individual who is on leave. A person who is appointed to a position under Civil Service Rule 1414 may be able to transition into a regular position in the classification without re-application or re-testing, depending on the performance of the appointee and the needs of the department.  
Please select the location(s) you would like to be considered for current and future vacancies. If you qualify for this position, pass the required selection steps and are in the area of selection, then your name may be sent to the hiring manager(s) of the vacancy location(s) where you have expressed that you are willing to work.

BENEFITS: The County of Santa Barbara offers generous benefits. Click on the Benefits Tab above or to view more information.  
In addition, applicants from other public sector employers may qualify for: 
  • Retirement reciprocity 
  • Time and service credit towards for an advanced vacation accrual rate 
The County may provide reimbursement for reasonable relocation expenses, and, at the discretion of the CEO, can provide flexible relocation assistance, housing and student loan offsets, cash incentives, and/or vacation and sick leave pre-accruals in the interest of attracting the best talent to the organization.
NOTE:  May be eligible for Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program, Perkins Loan Cancellation and/or National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program under the National Health Service Corps (NHSC).

The Behavioral Health Specialist (BHS) is embedded within the primary care clinic of Public Health. The BHS clinician, under general direction, provides brief, evidence-based mental health and behavioral interventions to support patients in addressing behaviors that impact health within the primary care setting; they provide education and develop behavioral change plans for patients; and maintain an active presence on the primary care team.

Behavioral Health Specialist is the journey-level professional classification for Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW) and Clinical Psychologists.   Incumbents provide professional mental health services in a Primary Health Care setting using time-limited, evidence-based interventions to support patients addressing behaviors that impact health.
The IDEAL CANDIDATE will possess: 
  • Experience in an integrated healthcare setting;
  • Passion for serving uninsured, under-insured, and low-income populations;
  • Strong clinical skills in addressing mental health and substance abuse issues, including assessment, referral, and brief therapy;
  • Familiarity with psychological interventions in preventative healthcare and behavioral medicine;
  • Ability to effectively work with diverse patient populations, utilizing medical interpreters when necessary;
  • Excellent problem-solving skills, flexibility, and ability to multitask in a busy medical clinic environment;
  • Proficiency in administering, scoring, and interpreting screening tools and health-setting instruments;
  • Understanding of Recovery Models in mental health;
  • Training and experience in empirically supported treatments applicable to various patients and conditions in medical settings;
  • Experience in structured quality improvement methods;
  • Knowledge of key principles and methods associated with Patient-Centered Medical Homes;
  • Experience with Electronic Health Records.

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Examples of Duties

  1. Provides brief mental health and behavioral interventions (e.g., 1-5 sessions for broad range of concerns) to support patients in addressing behaviors that create health concerns (including but not limited to stress management, alcohol misuse, weight management, and coping with chronic illness); uses self-management/home-based practice interventions to teach patients, families, and staff about care; assists clients and their families in understanding physical or mental health needs and impairments and their response to them, accepting the need for treatment, and working toward the solution of problems, thereby strengthening clients' efforts toward their recovery goals.
  2. Using brief assessments (e.g., PHQ-9, PCL, AUDIT C, etc.), routinely makes assessments on initial consultation and develops treatment around functional outcomes and long-lasting solutions (may include prevention of relapse or morbidity in reoccurring/chronic conditions); triages appropriately and efficiently to specialty mental health services and/or other providers for continuity of care and to assure that clients receive appropriate types of service; further manages the care of clients by assessing and referring them to public and private behavioral health providers and by monitoring their progress.
  3. Documents in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) all clinical activity presenting diagnostic and interview findings, clinical evaluations, and recommendations. As a member of a team, reviews diagnosis and treatment plans of clinic staff and consults with Primary Care Providers and other care team members regarding a plan of care for patients.
  4. Provides education to the Team on Behavioral Health Issues, as well as consultation on tips for successful care management and patient facilitation.
  5. Participates in program evaluation and/or performance improvement activities.

Employment Standards

  1. Possession of a valid license as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) issued by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; OR,
  2. Possession of a valid license as a Psychologist issued by the California State Board of Medical Examiners. 
NOTE: Professional Licensure: Applicants must possess licensure in their profession from the California Board of Behavioral Sciences or California State Board of Medical Examiners at the time of application.
Additional Requirements:  Independent travel is required for some positions in this class. If so, a valid driver's license is required at the time of application. A valid California Class C Driver's License is required at the time of appointment.
Background Investigation:  Finalists for positions in this class will be required to pass a pre-offer, job-related background investigation.
Knowledge of: Specialized evidence-based interventions and treatments for general behavioral health problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, substance abuse problems) and areas of physical health that impact behavioral health (e.g., chronic pain, obesity and diabetes); consultation and liaison skills; medical literacy, as demonstrated by familiarity with common medical terms, front-line psychiatric medications, understanding of medical culture, and previous experience as part of interdisciplinary treatment teams.
Ability to: Work effectively as part of interdisciplinary teams to effectively and efficiently provide clinical services using behavioral health techniques (e.g., chronic disease management, weight management, tobacco cessation, stress management, etc.); develop coherent treatment strategies that are problem-focused and solution oriented; integrate, collaborate and communicate diagnostic and treatment recommendations with team on behavioral health issues; prepare and present clear and concise oral and written reports; make sound, professional assessments in a compressed period of time; collaborate effectively with a diverse client and family population with unique backgrounds and needs; establish compassionate but professional relationships with clients.