What is Mental Health Case Management?

Larry Ray Palmer

Mental health case management is a systematic approach to mental healthcare that is designed to assist with meeting all of a client's needs, rather than focusing on only the mental illness. Case management often includes a variety of community services that are combined to maintain or improve the client's overall quality of life. For people who have mental health issues, a case manager might be assigned to oversee and coordinate their care. There are several levels of mental health case management, and the client's individual needs are taken into consideration when deciding what level of case management is appropriate for his or her situation.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

Case management is usually brought into use in situations where behavioral issues or other symptoms of mental health problems are making it difficult for the client and his or her caregivers to function independently. When assistance is requested by the client or recommended by a mental health professional, then a case manager might be assigned to perform a case assessment to determine the clients need for mental health case management, the level of case management required and eligibility for services. If case management is required and the client meets the eligibility requirements, the case manager will create a report of his or her findings and work with the client, caregivers and other medical and mental healthcare service providers to create an appropriate care plan.

The levels of mental health case management range from a very limited amount of supervision all the way up to very intensive supervision. In the most basic mental health case management scenario, the case manager assigned to the case will implement a care plan that coordinates mental health appointments and referrals to specialized mental healthcare providers and services. A case manager might also be able to help the client in locating support groups or other community services that are available.

Mental health case management is designed to assist participants in leading a normal life, so a great deal of supervision might be required to properly meet the client's individual needs, particularly in cases of extreme behavioral issues or mental disability. For mental health case management candidates requiring more intensive supervision, the care plan might also include arrangements for transportation to and from service providers, extensive training for care providers, medication management, therapeutic counseling and other services. In some cases, the case manager might also be responsible for coordinating proper housing and employment opportunities for the client.

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