AIDS Institute Logo

Mental Health Treatment Team Staffing

Mental health programs should utilized multidisciplinary mental health treatment teams to provide integrated treatment in which team members work collaboratively, sharing responsibility for the individuals served. The range of treatment and services in comprehensive and flexible, with home visits and intensive care coordination provided as needed. Treatment plans result from a collaborative effort between team members and clients.

The mental health treatment team model is intended to: enhance communication of relevant clinical information among providers; help increase adherence to evidence-based care; and reduce unnecessary hospital stays and emergency room visits. Effective mental health treatment should assist persons with HIV/AIDS to: reduce symptom distress and increase independent functioning; improve performance; and gain access to and retention in health care and support services.

Clinical supervision must be made available to all mental health treatment team members and shoud include assessing and monitoring each client's progress, providing feedback to staff in the context of the mental health treatment plan, and evaluating individual team members' performance.

Staff Qualifications and the Licensed Professions

Clincal mental health services are provided by a variety of mental health professionals, who are licensed by the New York State Department of Education and the Board of Regents, to practice within the boundaries and scope of their respective profession. This includes Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, Masters prepared Psychiatric Registered Nurses and Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs). Licensed Master Social Workers (LMSWs) are limited in the scope of practice and cannot provide diagnosis, treatment planning or psychotherapy without direct supervision from the LCSW. LMSWs and graduate social work students may only be part of the clinical team when supervised by a licensed mental health professional, as defined by the New York State Department of Education Office of the Professions. Additional information about each licensed profession can be found at: http://www.op.nysed.gov.

Bachelor's prepared (or higher) nursing or other health and human services staff may provide medical and mental health care coordination to support treatment retention and management. These service coordinators may identify and access available resources, provide persons with HIV/AIDS linkage and referral and may be responsible for monitoring these services. These staff may also provide psychosocial supportive services as described in the Scope of Services.