These individuals assist severely or chronically mentally ill individuals, including the homeless mentally ill, to obtain the services they need to live in the community. Most chronically mentally ill persons need medical care, social services, and assistance from a variety of agencies, including those dealing with housing, Social Security, vocational rehabilitation, and mental health.
Because such services are uncoordinated in many areas, case managers provide a critical function to monitor a person's needs and assure that appropriate agencies get involved. In many instances they also act as advocates for the client. Case managers can be nurses, social workers, or mental health workers and can be associated with mental health centers, psychosocial rehabilitation programs, or other agencies.
Helping professionals work in a variety of settings, such as mental health centers, outpatient clinics, private and group practice, general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, and prisons.