Case Management

What is Case Management?

A case manager is mental health worker who can help a person who has been diagnosed with a serious mental illness get the basic necessities, connect with community resources, and keep life in order. A case manager can encourage you, believe in you, communicate an atmosphere of hope, and promotion of emotional, behavioral and psychological growth through persistent efforts to attain individual goals. The promotion of skills and knowledge helps individuals effectively manage their mental health concerns and develop a sense of hope and sense of self that is not illness dominated; and provides a humane service environment that affords reasonable protection from harm, including retraumatization.

Within the public mental health system, advocacy is generally considered to be an important element of case management. Advocacy involves representation of the needs and interests of people with serious mental illnesses in order to obtain services, assure fair and reasonable accommodations for special needs, and promote opportunities for maximum independence in the community. Advocacy may include interpretation of client needs to providers, consultation and technical assistance in reducing and eliminating barriers, and assertive efforts to assure adaptations and accommodations. In some instances, advocacy can be an adversarial process directed toward forcing a system, resource or provider to serve the client.

Some case managers have high case loads and therefore may not have the time to spend that you would want. In this situation it will be important for you to use the support system that you have been building. 

Case Management is designed as a tool to provide the vital link between a consumer of mental health services and the various resources that may be necessary in assisting them in their journey to recovery. A case manager acts as an advocate to ensure that the consumers with whom they are working are referred to or receive the information they need from any professionals or information sources necessary, such as therapists, doctors, attorneys, financial advisors, etc. Case Managers are the arms and legs of Community Mental Health Centers.

What to Expect from Case Management Services

NOTE: While Case Managers can help with medication reminders, schedules, etc., they CANNOT physically touch the medicine.

  • Help in identifying early warning signs of problems with illness before a catastrophe occurs.
  • Provide compassionate and honest feedback on perceptions of reality.
  • Assist with problem-solving techniques to prevent problems from seeming so overwhelming.
  • Assist in accomplishment of Daily Living Activities such as grocery shopping, medication management, setting appointments, paying bills, etc. (See note
  • on medications).
  • Referrals for "entitlements" (services that a person has qualified for) to help in making his or her money go further.
  • Home visits if wanted or needed.
  • Referral assistance with legal questions, money management, job placement and housing issues.
  • Linkage between crisis response teams, doctors, and the consumer or family members.
  • Assist in the filing of Social Security Insurance (SSI) paperwork (but with little impact on whether the consumer receives it).
  • Provide guidance for the development of skills often needed to develop healthy relationships with family members, friends, co-workers, or community.
  • Assist in reporting medication complications to medical staff before a consumer's regularly scheduled appointment.


For additional assistance with case management services call the TennCare Advocacy Program at 800-758-1638.