Skills and Characteristics of Mental Health


Select a mental health or crisis intervention human service delivery system within criminal justice, such as a domestic violence program within a police department.
Write a paper about your selected system in which you address the following:
Describe the services provided by your selected mental health or crisis intervention human service delivery system.
Describe the general characteristics and skills needed to effectively deliver mental health and crisis intervention services.
How do the characteristics, skills, and actions needed by an agent of the government differ from those skills needed by social workers or practitioners in mental health?

Sample paper

Skills and Characteristics of Mental Health

The role of case workers or human service workers in the criminal justice system is very important. They are responsible for helping offenders with issues such as mental illnesses or drug and substance abusers to lead healthy and productive lives. This is one of the toughest jobs that anyone in the system can have since it is the only way to determine if the offenders have reformed and whether they are fit to be incorporated into the society without posing any danger to themselves or the public.  Since the inception of the role of social workers in the criminal justice system in 1904, it has become an important component in rehabilitating incarcerated individuals in the United States.  If there were no human service workers, it would he harder to know what the offenders need and how to help them. There are a variety of mental health services that are provided in the systems that will he discussed in the paper. In particular, the services provided by the York County Mental Health Court will be discussed. Human service workers need to portray certain characteristics and skills in order to provide proper care to mentally ill offenders (Wilson, 2010).

In May 2005, the Adult Mental Health Treatment Court was established. The court is set aside to help offenders with serious mental illnesses as a way of ensuring that the recidivism rate is reduced. In addition, the facility works to ensure that public safety is enhanced. Through community based treatment programs, the mental health court is trying to improve the offenders’ quality of life. This program has been so effective considering that mentally ill individuals are at a high risk of coming into contact with law enforcement officers. This is because their risks of being homeless, inability to access entitlements at the right time and lacking the required service are also high. When services were in place, there was a less likelihood for the mentally ill persons to be homeless or be incarcerated for a long time. According to a special report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 64 percent of the incarcerated individuals in the country have some sort of mental health problem.

The program seeks to give hope to the offenders by helping them regain their normal lives by showing them that there are people who are ready to show them how to lead a successful life.  In addition to this, it is important to note that mentally ill offenders can pose a danger to the public. As a result, it is important to make sure that their mental health is restored before they are released. The mental health court works towards stabilizing housing, actively engaging services and addressing the needs of the community that have led to the incarceration of the individual into the criminal justice system. A review done in 2014 shows that since the inception of the program, there are 67 people have graduated. In addition, the program has only recorded a recidivism rate of 10 percent and a retention rate of 79 percent.  54 percent of those who enter the York County Mental Health Court program end up graduating and 100 percent of these graduates indicate that the quality of their lives has improved (York County Treatment Courts, 2014).

Characteristics and skills of human service workers

A mental health service worker should be patient in order to ensure that the program is effective. Patience enables them to get to the root cause of the offender’s problems and determine ways to help them. It is not easy to deal with mentally ill individuals. Sometimes there may seem like there is no progress but there is no better time to understand the importance of patience than during such times. It takes time to record considerable progress for a single offender. The human service worker should be willing to help the client regardless of how long they take to show the slightest signs of progress. Secondly, a mental human service worker should have attention to detail. This is because everything said or seen should be factored in during treatment. Different mentally ill offenders have different needs. This means that clear and comprehensive records should be kept so that incase the human service workers are assigned to different cases, they can still relate and make sure that at no point does the offender miss a session. Thirdly, they should mentally and emotionally stable. Until they meet the offenders, they do not have the whole story. An offender may say one thing but their file says an entirely different thing. It is therefore important to always be keen and observe their body language to determine if they are truthful or not.

Human service workers should also have empathy and compassion for the mentally ill offenders as required by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (Greenwood, 2017). There may be conflicting professional expectations because the most important factor that should be considered is public safety. However, the system is adapting new challenges to ensure that they not only serve the public but also help the incarcerated individuals. According to the criminal justice social work in the U.S, a person who commits crime because of their mental illness should be treated differently from those who commit crime while they are fully aware of their actions. It is the responsibility of the human service worker to inform the members of the legal system and help them understand the difference between the two offenders. To achieve this, a human service worker should be compassionate in order to understand the state of the offender while still maintaining that public safety is crucial. The desire and passion to help people restore their health should be at the topmost list of the characteristics that the case managers should have.

The National Association of Social Workers describes social work as one of the most sought after professions, considering the high standards that social workers should observe. Normally people think of social workers as independent consultants. However, there are social workers who work in government agencies. Social mental health workers are different from those who work for government agencies. Government agents are responsible for enforcing laws. They are supposed to make sure that the rights of the citizens are not violated. Some of them are prison guards whose main job is to ensure that offenders do not escape, harm themselves and prevent the entry of illegal items from entering prison. In addition to this, the government agents help offenders during their transition period. It might be hard for offenders to understand what to do after they leave prison. These agents help them by linking them up with community based organizations where they can continue getting help after they are released.

Human service workers working with the mentally ill offenders are devoted towards helping them get better. This requires them to follow the guidelines that are set by the NASW, be open minded, compassionate and empathetic. The York County Mental Health Court ensures that offenders become productive members of the society after they are released. This is the major reason behind the 18 month program that enables the offenders achieve that. The progress achieved through such programs show that it is important that every county has a mental health court. The best place to have treatment and rehabilitation programs is the criminal justice system. this because most people who engage in crime as a result of their mental illnesses can be reached and helped. Convenience is one of the reasons why such programs are successful.


Greenwood, B. (2017). What Is a Social Worker’s Position in Criminal Justice?. Retrieved 20 January 2017, from

York County Treatment Courts,. (2014). YORK COUNTY TREATMENT COURTS COURT OF COMMON PLEAS. YORK COUNTY TREATMENT COURTS. Retrieved 20 January 2017, from

Wilson, M. (2010). CRIMINAL JUSTICE SOCIAL WORK IN THE UNITED STATES: ADAPTING TO NEW CHALLENGES. National Association of Social Workers. Retrieved 20 January 2017, from


Develop individually, a criminal justice case study that involves the need for an intervention.