Human Resource Services
Alameda Skyline

Mental Health Specialist II

Recruitment #18-6491-01



The scores and dispositions of candidates for this examination will be merged with previous exam participants. If you previously submitted an application for the Mental Health Specialist, Examination #18-6491-01, and choose to reapply, you must contact the analyst at: to have your previous application released back to you.  Your new score/disposition resulting from this exam will replace your current score/disposition. If you do not wish to change your score/disposition, you are not required to reapply to this examination.

Candidates who receive a qualifying score cannot participate in the examination within six (6) months of their disposition notice. Candidates who did not qualify may reapply sixty (60) days from their disposition notice.

Applications must be in the possession of the Human Resource Services Department by 5:00 p.m. on the Last Day for Filing. Applications will only be accepted on-line.


Supplemental Questionnaire: A properly completed Supplemental Questionnaire must be submitted with each application. Applications and Supplemental Questionnaires must be in the possession of the Human Resource Services Department by 5:00 p.m. on the Last Day for Filing. Failure to submit the Supplemental Questionnaire will result in disqualification.


Qualified bilingual persons who speak English and are also fluent in: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Korean, Mien, Tagalog, Amharic, Farsi, Dari, Tigrigna, Russian, Romanian or Sign Languages are especially encouraged to apply. There is an additional bi-weekly compensation for persons in positions designated bilingual. Qualified candidates may be tested to demonstrate language proficiency.



Alameda County, located on the east side of San Francisco Bay, is California's seventh-largest county.  The County employs 9,700 full-time employees and operates on an annual budget of $3.4 billion.  Oakland, the County seat, is California's eighth largest city.  One and a half million people call Alameda County home and live in a variety of incorporated cities, unincorporated communities and rural areas.  As a major urban county, Alameda provides a full range of services to its citizens.  The County is a blend of culturally and ethnically diverse communities, and its mixture of cosmopolitan and suburban areas provides the perfect environment for families and their active lifestyles.  The County offers extensive cultural resources, countless recreational opportunities and an array of fine public and private colleges and universities. 




Alameda County's Health Services Program is administered by the Health Care Services Agency and includes the following program areas: Behavioral Health Care, Public Health, Environmental Health, and Agency Administration/Indigent Health. The ultimate mission of the Health Care Services Agency is to provide fully integrated health care services through a comprehensive network of public and private partnerships that ensure optimal health and well-being and respect the diversity of all residents. Health Care Services Agency currently has multiple career opportunities for experienced professionals to become part of a service delivery team dedicated to the optimal health and well-being of Alameda County residents.  For more information about the Health Care Services Agency, please visit



It is the mission of Behavioral Health Care Services to maximize the recovery, resilience and wellness of all eligible Alameda County residents who are developing or experiencing serious mental health, alcohol, or drug concerns. We envision communities where people realize their potential, and where stigma and discrimination against those with mental health, alcohol and/or drug issues are a thing of the past.


Only through exemplifying the following Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services values will we be successful:



Access - where every door is the right door for welcoming people with complex needs;

Consumer and Family Empowerment - through shared decisionmaking best practices, that clinically produce effective outcomes;

Best Practices - business excellence that uses public resources costeffectively;

Health and Wellness - by integrating emotional, spiritual and physical health care;

Culturally Responsive - appropriate services built on the strengths and life experiences of culturally diverse consumers and their families;

Social Inclusion - utilizing advocacy and education to eliminate stigma, discrimination, isolation, and misunderstanding of persons with mental illness and substance abuse.


For more information about the department of Behavioral Health Care Services, please visit



Under supervision, provides a variety of paraprofessional counseling services to behavioral health consumers; recommends appropriate referrals; maintains community liaisons to ensure adequate services are made available to consumers and provides facilitation for a variety of consumer-focused specialty groups; participates as part of the treatment team; and performs related duties as required.  This is the entry-level class in the Mental Health Specialist paraprofessional series. The Mental Health Specialist II class is distinguished from the Mental Health Specialist I class in that the latter is a trainee level class.




The immediate vacancies are located in Adult Forensic Behavioral Health (AFBH), Oakland Community Support Center (OCSC), and Behavioral Health Court, as described in more detail below; however, please note that the eligible list resulting from this recruitment and selection process may be utilized for other future vacancies (including specialty designated vacancies) which may arise within the next year for the Health Care Services Agency.


Adult Forensic Behavioral Health (AFBH) is responsible for the provision of mental health services to inmates in the custody of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. The goal is to alleviate psychiatric symptoms and prevent relapse. Services include: assessments, medication management, crisis intervention, ongoing treatment, and monitoring of inmates with serious mental illnesses with the goals of stabilizing mental conditions.

Oakland Community Support Center (OCSC) works with consumers who have mental health challenges, assisting them achieve their goals by providing outpatient case management services. The MHS II position from OCSC is a position that that collaborates with our PATH (promoting access to health) clinic, which works with integrating primary care with mental health. The MHS II at OCSC would be working with our level 1 consumers, clinicians, psychiatrists, and other providers. Mental Health Specialists provide services where they run groups, plan client events, provide support to clinicians, assess clients, and work with clients on symptom management.

Behavioral Health Court - The mission of the Alameda County Behavioral Health Court (BHC) is to promote public safety and assist severely mentally ill offenders by diverting them away from the criminal justice system and into community treatment.



In addition to meeting the minimum qualifications and knowledge and skills below, the ideal candidate will:


  • Interview and secure personal health and social information to help determine consumer needs.
  • Work effectively with staff and consumers in treatment services and as a member of an inter-disciplinary team of behavioral health care providers.
  • Relate and communicate effectively with behavioral health consumers.
  • Know principles of risk assessment, crisis intervention and treatment.
  • Know the mental, physical, emotional, and social needs of consumers with mental health, physical health and/or substance abuse issues.
  • Apply peer counseling and motivational support techniques for helping behavioral health consumers.
  • Analyze problems, identify solutions and respond appropriately to crisis situations involving consumers.
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing, and write concise reports.


For a detailed listing of the essential responsibilities and core competency requirements for this position, please click here for the job description.



Either I
The equivalent of one year of experience in the class of Mental Health Specialist I. (Possession of a California Psychiatric Technician license may be substituted for experience.)

The equivalent of one year of experience performing duties comparable to those of Mental Health Specialist I, under supervision.

Possession of a valid license to practice as a Vocational Nurse in the State of California, And
The equivalent of six months of experience performing duties comparable to those of Mental Health Specialist I, under supervision.

Some positions require a valid California Motor Vehicle Operator’s license. Applicants must possess such license prior to appointment to such positions.

Special Requirement:
In compliance with the Administrative Simplification provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), employees in this classification are required to possess a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number prior to their first day of employment.

NOTE: The Civil Service Commission may modify the above Minimum Qualifications in the announcement of an examination.


NOTE: The level and scope of the following knowledge and abilities are related to duties listed under the "Examples of Duties" section of this specification.

The most suitably qualified candidates will possess the following competencies:


Knowledge of:

• Peer counseling and motivational support techniques for helping behavioral health consumers.
• The mental, physical, emotional, and social needs of consumers with mental health, physical health and/or substance abuse issues.
• Principles and techniques of mental health treatment and recovery principles and practices.
• The psychosocial aspects and characteristics of mental illness and severe emotional disturbance.
• Principles of risk assessment, crisis intervention and treatment.
• Harm reduction principles and practices.
• Behavioral health programs, community organizations and resources, and peer support networks in the local community.
• Basic understanding of mental health case management and appropriate coding, charting and documentation requirements for health care providers.
• Elementary psychiatric and medical terminology.
• Familiarity with medications commonly prescribed for consumers.
• Computer applications related to the work.

Ability to:

• Relate and communicate effectively with behavioral health consumers.
• Work effectively with staff and consumers in treatment services and as a member of an inter-disciplinary team of behavioral health care providers.
• Provide a variety of mental health services to a varied caseload of consumers in outpatient settings.
• Interview and secure personal health and social information to help determine consumer needs.
• Analyze problems, identify solutions and respond appropriately to crisis situations involving consumers.
• Maintain and monitor records of assigned consumers.
• Communicate effectively orally and in writing, and write concise reports.


The examination will consist of the following steps: 1) A review of candidates' applications to verify possession of minimum requirements. 2) Those candidates who possess the minimum requirements for the class will move on to the next step in the examination process which is a review of candidates' Supplemental Questionnaires to select the best qualified applicants to continue in the process. 3) Those candidates selected as best qualified will move on to the next step in the examination process, an oral interview which will be weighted as 100% of the candidate's final examination score. The oral interview may contain situational exercises.




We reserve the right to make changes to the announced examination components.


Alameda County utilizes a Civil Service Selection System founded on merit. Such a system is competitive and based on broad recruitment efforts and equal opportunity for qualified applicants to test in an examination process designed to determine the qualifications, fitness and ability of competitors to perform duties of the vacant position.  Many of our recruitments are targeted and specific to the needs of a current vacant position, in which case, the eligible list may be exclusively used for that current vacant position. Other recruitments may be more broadly used for both current and future vacancies, or for other alternate jobs with comparable scopes of work.


To learn more about our recruitment and selection process, please visit the “What You Need to Know” section of our website,

Selection Plan

Applicants will be informed via email with reasonable notice in advance of any examination process which will require their attendance.  The following dates are tentative and subject to change based on the needs of the Agency:  



Deadline for Filing

Tuesday, April 10, 2023, 5:00 PM

Review of Minimum Qualification

April 11, 2023

Oral Interview Exam**

May 4, 2023


**The combined oral examination/hiring interview, in addition to establishing an eligibility list, may serve as the final selection interview for vacancies in this classification




Alameda County and the Human Resource Services Department will make reasonable efforts in the examination and/or selection process to accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities and/or medical conditions in accordance/compliance with the State Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Alameda County’s Reasonable Accommodation Policy and applicable statues.  To request an accommodation due to a disability/medical condition during this or other phases of the examination/selection process, please contact the assigned Human Resources Representative listed on the job announcement before the last date of filing. Alameda County requires applicants to provide supporting documentation to substantiate a request for reasonable accommodation. In order to qualify for a reasonable accommodation, applicants must have a disability/medical condition pursuant to the ADA, FEHA and applicable statutes.


For more information regarding our Reasonable Accommodation procedures, please visit our website,


Alameda County offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that affords wide-ranging health care options to meet the different needs of a diverse workforce and their families. We also sponsor many different employee discount, fitness and health screening programs focused on overall well being.  These benefits include but are not limited to*:

For your Health & Well-Being

  • Medical – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Dental – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Vision or Vision Reimbursement
  • Share the Savings
  • Basic Life Insurance 
  • Supplemental Life Insurance (with optional dependent coverage for eligible employees) 
  • County Allowance Credit
  • Flexible Spending Accounts - Health FSA, Dependent Care and Adoption Assistance
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Voluntary Benefits - Accident Insurance, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity and Legal Services
  • Employee Assistance Program

For your Financial Future

  • Retirement Plan - (Defined Benefit Pension Plan)
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (457 Plan or Roth Plan)

For your Work/Life Balance

  • 11 paid holidays
  • Floating Holidays
  • Vacation and sick leave accrual
  • Vacation purchase program
  • Catastrophic Sick Leave
  • Employee Mortgage Loan Program
  • Group Auto/Home Insurance
  • Pet Insurance
  • Commuter Benefits Program
  • Guaranteed Ride Home
  • Employee Wellness Program (e.g. At Work Fitness, Incentive Based Programs, Gym Membership Discounts)
  • Employee Discount Program (e.g. theme parks, cell phone, etc.)
  • Child Care Resources
  • 1st United Services Credit Union 

*Eligibility is determined by Alameda County and offerings may vary by collective bargaining agreement.  This provides a brief summary of the benefits offered and can be subject to change.



All notices related to County recruitments for which you have applied will be sent/delivered via email. Please add, and as  accepted addresses to any email blocking or spam filtering program you may use. If you do not do this, your email blocking or spam filtering program may block receipt of the notices regarding your application for recruitments. You are also strongly advised to regularly log into your County of Alameda online application account to check for notices that may have been sent to you. All email notices that will be sent to you will also be kept in your personal online application account. You will be able to view all of your notices in your online application account by clicking on the "My applications" button on the Current Job Openings page.


Please take the steps recommended above to insure you do not miss any notices about a recruitment for which you have applied. The County of Alameda is not responsible for notices that are not read, received or accessed by any applicant for a County recruitment.


NOTE: All notices are generated through an automated email notification system. Replies to the email box are routed to an unmonitored mailbox. If you have questions, please go to our website at You may also contact the Human Resources Analyst listed on the job announcement for the recruitment for which you have applied.


Nicole Lewis-Bolton, Human Resources Analyst

Human Resource Services, County of Alameda

(510) 272-6468 •



Disaster Service Worker

All Alameda County employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law.  Employment with the County requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect.  Employees are required to report to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


Equal Employment Opportunity

Alameda County has a diverse workforce, that is representative of the communities we serve, and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.  All aspects of employment are based on merit, competence, performance and business need. Alameda County does not discriminate in employment on the basis of:  race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors protected under federal, state and local law. Alameda County celebrates diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive, and welcoming workplace environment.