My Schedule in Community Mental Health

Community mental health (or any job in the mental health field for that matter) can be pretty hectic running from appointment to appointment or even doing strictly teletherapy. The great thing about this field is it can be super flexible; I’ve seen 6-7 clients a day Monday-Thursday to take off a Friday or seen clients on a Saturday or Sunday if I had another obligation during the week. Unfortunately, the unstable nature of this field also means I have to scramble up my schedule to make up a no-show. 

Since my schedule changes so much in a day, I decided to share a more general schedule just to give students and professionals new to this setting an idea of the responsibilities you might have outside of clinical hours. Be sure to check out other articles in the series “Working in an Agency” ,and keep reading to see how I try my best to stay organized in the chaos. While in school. During a pandemic. 

Daily:

  • I (try to) make 25 hours a week of billable hours, the minimum required by my agency. Right now, I’m half teletherapy, half face-to-face in clients’ homes following safety protocols. I usually try to schedule 5 clients a day or more to make up for no shows. I’m really fortunate to work for an agency that offers bonuses when you make over the minimum required hours. 
  • I spend about 1-2 hours a day commuting between offices and between clients’ homes. 
  • I schedule 30 minutes at the end of each workday to send emails, look over my schedule for the next day, deal with the inevitable crises that come up during the day, and send appointment reminder texts. 
  • I usually end up working 8-4:30. My agency only requires me to make my minimum billable hours meaning it’s really up to me to work out my own schedule to meet my client’s needs outside of sessions. Definitely a benefit if you’re super organized and love a flexible schedule!

Weekly:

  • Each week, I try to schedule an hour to address my checklist that does not involve direct client services or supervision. This can include: 
    • Consulting with clients’ other providers 
    • Inquiring about housing and financial resources to share with clients
    • Reaching out to clients who have not responded to my previous voicemails or messages to schedule an appointment 
    • Research for specific cases or diagnoses, write mini case conceptualizations, brainstorm for treatment plans 
    • Complete discharges as needed 
  • I also engage in weekly supervision with my clinical supervisor that is not associated with my agency.

Monthly:

  • I attend administrative individual and group supervision once a month so that’s two hour-long superivisons a month. 
  • Each month, I schedule 2 hours or more for the following administrative tasks: 
    • Scheduling reassessment appointments  
    • Completing insurance authorizations as needed so I can continue to bill for services 
    • Following up with other agencies or organizations to check on referral statuses 

Now that I’ve written out a rough draft of my schedule, I feel it’s necessary to let you know that all of this can fall apart at any minute. My schedule is always changing due to no-shows, clients requesting different times, and crises. This work definitely requires a certain amount of flexibility. 

If you have any more specific questions about my schedule, ask me in the comments!

What does your week look like when trying to balance sessions and administrative tasks? 

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