Purpose and Mission
The behavioral health specialist is a key member of the primary care treatment team. Her main roles are to identify, triage and manages patients with medical and/or behavioral problems. A behavioral health specialist also supports patients through skill training that may involve psychoeducation and patient education strategies, as well as creates behavioral change plans for individual patients and behavioral health protocols for larger populations.
Most behavioural health specialists have at least a bachelor’s degree, and many have a master’s degree or other graduate certifications. Note that many of these healthcare professionals come from a social work background.
Given that behavioural health specialists typically work at hospitals, nursing homes or in-patient psychiatric facilities, they will report to a department head or service chief in most cases.
Although some behavioural health specialists have direct supervisory responsibilities, such as overseeing other members of the healthcare team or training new employees, most have relatively few supervisory duties.
Most employers require behavioural health specialists to have at least a bachelor’s degree in human services, social work, or psychology. A growing number of employers today prefer candidates with a graduate degree, in most cases a master’s in social work or psychology.
Responsibilities of a Behavioural Health Specialist
The primary responsibilities of a behavioural health specialist include: