Occ. Code 5571300



New York State Department of Civil Service

Classification Specification


Positions in this class work in a broad range of settings and perform a wide variety of tasks related to the care, nurturing, treatment, education, socialization, habilitation, recovery/healing and support of adults diagnosed with a mental illness and children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. These tasks focus on supporting, instructing and assisting recipients of mental health services to develop the skills needed to attain personal goals, live, be educated, work, and socialize successfully in the community environments of their choice. Positions in this class also advocate for patients and support families or other caregivers in their efforts to assist these individuals.

Positions of Mental Health Therapy Aide exist in the Office of Mental Health at its facilities and programs in the community and at State University Medical Centers.


MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY AIDE: Incumbents in these positions provide direct services and support to adults diagnosed with a mental illness, children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances, and their families. The specific tasks performed are concerned with providing a nurturing, caring, safe and supportive environment, as well as assisting individuals in the development of skills which will enable them to care for their own basic housing, vocational, educational, socialization, family life, recreational, and nutritional needs. Techniques include being empathetic and supportive, instructing, demonstrating, modeling and encouraging appropriate behavior and skills. The Aide is in almost constant face-to-face contact and communication with individuals and their families in a wide variety of residential and community environments.


Developmental Aide, Grade 9, positions perform a wide variety of routine and often repetitive tasks with and for the active treatment of the developmentally disabled. These tasks involve encouraging, guiding and training individuals in developing daily living skills and habits, taking care of their personal needs, and maintaining the service environment. Positions in this class exist only in the
Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities and are assigned to residential and/or program settings as members of a multi-disciplinary treatment team.

Secure Care Treatment Aide 1, Grade 11, positions treat and care for individuals diagnosed with mental illness who are highly assaultive, suicidal and dangerous to themselves or others. They provide a safe, secure and stable environment within which these recipients of services can be given the intensive care needed for stabilization and treatment. These positions exist only in secure care treatment units of psychiatric and children's psychiatric centers operated by the Office of Mental Health.

Developmental Disabilities Secure Care Treatment Aide 1, Grade 11, positions treat and care for individuals who are diagnosed as mentally retarded or developmentally disabled and who are highly assaultive, suicidal and dangerous to themselves or others. These positions exist only in secure care treatment units of the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

Mental Hygiene Therapy Assistant 1, Grade 12, positions supervise Mental Health Therapy Aides in caring for a group of individuals diagnosed with mental illness in facilities, residential locations and community settings of the Office of Mental Health. These positions may also teach, coach, mentor and evaluate Mental Health Therapy Aides and other direct care staff.

In the Office of Mental Health, classes such as Licensed Practical Nurse, Senior Licensed Practical Nurse, Nurse 1, and Nurse 2 (Psychiatric) provide medical care and perform specific nursing procedures and related therapy tasks for those requiring medical attention.


Under the general direction of a Mental Hygiene Therapy Assistant or other designated professional or clinician, assists and instructs individuals in attending to personal care tasks concerning personal hygiene, grooming, nutrition and daily living; may personally bathe and groom (or assist) individuals who are unable to take care of their own personal hygiene needs independently; ensures that sufficient and appropriate attire is available, and assists in selecting clothing and dressing individuals who require help; ensures that the food provided or selected is appropriate for those on a special diet prescribed by a dietitian, and feeds or assists in feeding individuals who require assistance; encourages and assists individuals to participate in physical, social, recreational, educational, and other rehabilitation goals to enhance the individual's recovery/healing, and draw individuals into fuller participation in the life of their family and community; organizes and encourages individuals to participate in, and accompanies and/or transports individuals to social activities such as dances, picnics, shopping visits, field trips to cultural and athletic events, and after school and weekend activities; accompanies and/or transports individuals to medical appointments and therapy sessions, as necessary; may assist in developing educational, vocational and social skills within the framework of the individual's treatment/service plan; may work with the individual and various human services providers to advocate for and assist in meeting the individual's work, housing, and schooling needs; encourages and coaches individuals to participate in physical activities, exercise and athletic games, to promote physical well-being; instructs and supports individuals in the performance of tasks such as shopping, meal preparation, housekeeping, transportation, and routine household operation and maintenance; may lead skills development or activity groups with individuals and families, as appropriate; according to facility policy and with appropriate supervision, Mental Health Therapy Aides who have demonstrated current competence may perform simple clinical procedures as prescribed, administer medication to hospitalized individuals as prescribed, supply individuals in all settings with individual doses of prescribed medication and/or monitor individuals' self-administration of medication; count appropriate doses of medication and maintain medication records; take and record temperature, blood pressure and pulse rate; using prescribed equipment and procedures, Mental Health Therapy Aides who have received the State Education Department's required infection control training and who have demonstrated current competence in clean and aseptic techniques, may administer foot baths, irrigations, whirlpool baths, ear drops and eye drops, change and dress minor wounds following prescribed procedures, administer first aid treatment in the event of minor burns, cuts and abrasions; observe individuals' behavior and specific responses to treatment and rehabilitation programs, support services and medication and report observations verbally or in writing; participate at team meetings by communicating observations concerning individuals' progress and reaction to various programs and services; may suggest alternative programs or procedures to revise an individual's treatment/service plan; document all significant behavioral responses in prescribed format; assist in crisis and emergency situations to protect the welfare of individuals, staff, and others; observe the physical environment, and perform housekeeping tasks as necessary to ensure the maintenance of a safe, clean, comfortable and healing environment for individuals; may assist and supervise individuals in meal preparation, laundry and light housekeeping tasks; may supervise activities of recipient workers in special tasks; may schedule activities and tasks; and provide training to other staff assigned to provide treatment and care to individuals.



One year of experience as a Mental Health Therapy Aide Trainee and the successful completion of the one-year Mental Health Therapy Aide Trainee program.

Date: 9/00