Mental Health Specialist

County of Orange
Full Time 23.5 per week $58,801 - $68,785 Per year CA 405 W 5th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701, United States




In addition to performance-based merit increases, this position is scheduled to receive salary range increases on the following dates:

Effective June 28, 2024 – 4.25% increase

Effective June 27, 2025 – 4.00% increase

Salary may be negotiable within the range listed above, based on position requirements and successful candidate's qualifications, subject to appropriate authorization.

This recruitment is open to the public for a minimum of five (5) business days and will remain open on a continuous basis until 11:59 p.m. (PST) on the day the County's needs are met. Applicants are encouraged to apply immediately as this recruitment may close at any time without further notice.

This recruitment is being held to establish an open eligible listto fill current and future Mental Health Specialist (MHS) vacancies within Health Care Agency, Behavioral Health Services. This recruitment may also be used to fill positions in similar and/or lower classifications.



is a dynamic organization dedicated to creating and supporting an environment that promotes the achievement of optimal individual, family and community health. Under the direction of the Agency Director, a new and dynamic executive team with an organizational structure comprised of

seven (7) service areas - Finance and Administrative, Behavioral Health Services, Correctional Health Services, Medical Health Services, Office of Care Coordination, Public Health and Strategy and Special Projects is committed to meeting the health needs of the diverse Orange County community.



provides a culturally competent and participant-centered system of behavioral health services for all eligible county residents in need of treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse and mental health care.

Some of the opportunities listed below requires shift work and candidates must be able to work day, night, swing, and weekend shifts.
Some assignments may require an active and current Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) certification at time of application and throughout employment with the County.


team serves participants who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness and experiencing mild to serious behavioral health and/or substance use condition. The Mental Health Specialist (MHS) provides services focused on linking individuals to needed resources and services. This is accomplished through establishing and maintaining trusting relationships with the homeless community and collaborating with other service providers. The services are conducted in the community and include outreach, education, crisis management coordination, case management, skill-building workshops, referral and linkage to resources, and transportation support. The MHS is also responsible for tracking and documenting participant engagement and data in order to demonstrate participant engagement and outcomes

The Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU), within the Crisis & Acute Care Services Function Area of MHRS, has a need to fill a Mental Health Specialist who is a Licensed Psychiatric Technician or Licensed Vocational Nurse to perform the following:
  • Evaluating adults experiencing psychiatric symptoms over a duration of less than 23.5 hours
  • Providing crisis stabilization
  • Providing telephone consultations, as needed
  • Assessing adults experiencing psychiatric symptoms and recommend treatment services
  • Administering medication as needed for adult psychiatric clients
  • Referring adult psychiatric clients to the appropriate facilities in order to obtain proper care and treatment
  • Providing counseling services, as needed, to adult psychiatric clients

DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS & CORE COMPETENCIESThe ideal candidates will have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college in a behavioral science field such as psychology, counseling, or social work and/or at least three (3) years of field experience providing participant-related services to persons experiencing mental health and/or substance use disorders. The ideal candidate for the Outreach and Engagement position will also possess two (2) years of experience working with the homeless or those at risk of homelessness and have a strong desire to work with this population. Bilingual skills in the following languages are also desirable: Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, and Farsi. The ideal candidate must also possess a valid driver's license and reliable transportation as they will need to be able to drive to various sites in the community to provide services and attend appointments with participants. In addition, the ideal candidate will possess extensive knowledge and/or experience in the following core competencies:
   Technical Knowledge | Technical Skills
  • Providing participants services in the field
  • Coordinating and linking participants to mental health, substance use and housing services with various community resources
  • Collecting data on intervention activities, participant demographics and outcome measures
  • Meeting with participants to assess needs, address barriers to accessing services, and create individualized service plans for participants
  • Facilitating coping skills groups to target population
  • Attending trainings to increase knowledge and staff capacity about resources, services and how to engage the target population
  • Proficient use of office software and computer programs to complete program forms and log data
  • Maintaining confidentiality of participants and services and ensuring excellent customer service is provided
  • Communicating effectively in writing and orally, adjusting communication styles to fit audience accordingly
  • Communicating issues effectively and with sensitivity and diplomacy while building relationships with participants and referral sources
Interpersonal Skills
  • Maintaining brief, ongoing communications to develop trust with participants
  • Performing effectively and consistently in dynamic situations which require collaboration and professionalism
  • Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries with participants, peers and community partners
  • Responding calmly to stressors, knowing when it is appropriate to involve others and multi-tasking as needed
  • Collaborating with community partners in the field such as law enforcement and other outreach teams
Please click for more information regarding the minimum qualifications for the Mental Health Specialist and details of this classification.
Physical Characteristics: Possess vision sufficient to read standard text, read a computer monitor and to drive; speak and hear well enough to communicate clearly and understandably in person, over the telephone and in small groups; independent body mobility to stand, sit, walk for long periods, stoop, and bend to access a standard office environment; manual dexterity to use hands, arms and shoulders repetitively to operate a keyboard, to write and drive a vehicle.
Environmental Conditions: Will be required to interact with participants/patients in emotional and occasionally hostile situations, work in an office environment, work in a secure facility and/or in the field, drive to community sites and to meetings, and occasionally work evenings/weekends to attend meetings/special events; and will have the ability to work in the field and interact with the public, other County employees, including supervisors and managers, staff and management in other governmental and regulatory agencies, and service providers in a variety of situations which may be emotional, stressful and/or difficult.
Human Resource Services (HRS) will screen all application materials to identify qualified applicants. After screening, qualified applicants will be referred to the next step and notified of all further procedures applicable to their status in the competition.
Application Screening (Refer/Non-Refer)
Applications and supplemental responses will be screened for the minimum qualifications. Only those candidates that meet the qualifications as listed in the job bulletin will be referred to the next step. All applicants will be notified via email of their status in the process. 
Online Assessment/Technical Skill Assessment (Weighted 100%) 
Qualified candidates will be invited to participate in a job-related assessment. Candidates will be notified of their date and access code, if applicable. Only the more qualified candidates will be placed on the eligible list.
Based on the Department's needs, the selection procedure listed above may be modified. All applicants will be notified of any changes in the selection procedure.
Eligible List
Once the assessment has been completed, HRS will establish an eligible list of candidates. Candidates placed on the eligible list may be referred to a selection interview to be considered for present and future vacancies.

Veterans Employment Preference
The County is committed to providing a mechanism to give preferential consideration in the employment process to veterans and their eligible spouses and will provide eligible participants the opportunity to receive interviews in the selection process for employment and paid internship openings. Please click to review the policy.