Harm Reduction Mental Health Counselor

Position Summary

The Harm Reduction Mental Health Counselor is a critical component for OnPoint NYC’s street and office-based Mental Health program, which includes low-threshold risk reduction education, general social work services, drug treatment placement, HIV and HCV counseling and testing, the provision of educational and support groups, and low-threshold mental health services. OnPoint NYC’s service model is based on educating participants and facilitating empowerment so that individuals advocate for themselves and make self-identified changes in their lives. Consistent with this philosophy, OnPoint NYC’s mental health services help participants identify their strengths, needs, and barriers to accessing services, while promoting concepts of wellness, developing their support networks, and connecting them to opportunities to identify, influence, and change the policies that affect their lives.  The Harm Reduction Mental Health Counselor is key to ensuring that OnPoint NYC operates in a manner consistent with the principles of Harm Reduction and is responsible for modeling behavior consistent with an agency culture that values education, growth and collaborative team-based management.

Reports to: Director of Holistic and Clinical Care
Pay Rate: Bi Weekly Rate: $2,884.61 – $3,461.53
Position Type: Full Time
Hours Per Week: 35

  • Provide mental health subject matter expertise and consultative support to staff working in the Drop-In Center, the Overdose Prevention Center, and the Holistic Center.
  • Facilitate brief interventions in the Drop-In Center, the Holistic Center and the Overdose Prevention Center, engaging participants and educating them about available services.
  • Provide support to Drop-In Center staff and Overdose Prevention Center staff in crisis situations, utilizing crisis intervention and de-escalation strategies.  
  • Screen participants for current symptoms of common mental health conditions utilizing valid and reliable screening tools such as the PHQ-9, the GAD-7, and the PTSD Checklist.
  • Conduct assessments of clients seeking mental health and social work services.  
  • Carry a caseload of 15-25 participants, engaging participants in regular counseling and therapy services.
  • Provide ‘light touch’ therapeutic and crisis intervention engagements to a larger number of participants (25+) in OnPoint’s lower-threshold programs including the Drop-In Center/Lounge spaces, respite rooms and Overdose Prevention Center.
  • Support case management team in providing clients with complex care coordination services.
  • Ensure maintenance of proper documentation and conduct regular chart audits. 
  • Oversee and manage the agency’s Mental Health and Social Work services in our Drop-In Center programs.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with NY metro-area social work and mental health counseling programs via formal agreements. Recruit, train, and supervise Master’s level students (e.g., MSW, MSEd-MHC, etc.) for their intern/externships.
  • Assess environment for group service needs, gathering information from participants and staff; identify group-based curricula that meet these needs; schedule, plan, promote, facilitate and document group services.
  • Continuously assess agency training needs and provide training in areas of responsibility including mental health; crisis intervention; and engagement and rapport building.
  • Utilize data to coordinate optimal program workflow, assess service goals, improve methods of reaching and providing services to participants, and develop and implement new and innovative services to meet emerging needs.
  • Continuously monitor and report on outcomes, service deliverables, and participant satisfaction, and work with the Director of Holistic and Clinical Care and the Data and Evaluation department to implement a comprehensive quality management plan that includes the development of appropriate performance measures.
  • Reinforce and develop a collaborative and proactive agency culture through supportive and motivating interactions with staff and the implementation of fair and effective policies.
  • Produce written reports, publications, presentations, and/or relevant portions of funding proposals as needed.  Represent OnPoint NYC in the community, at conferences, and with other service providers.
  • Oversee the maintenance of an updated resource directory for referrals to service providers, and work with program staff to establish and maintain active and positive collaborations with other community agencies. Monitor feedback from staff and participants to ensure that the agencies to which we refer are effective and treat participants with respect and dignity.
  • Leverage external resources and cultivate the engagement and commitment of potential allies and volunteers to address program and service gaps.  Work with the Management team and external providers to coordinate the delivery of these services (including medical and dental care, and food and clothing distribution) to OnPoint NYC participants.
  • Continually and proactively educate yourself about new developments in the field and work with colleagues to share information and best practices.
  • Perform other related tasks and responsibilities as assigned.


  • LCSW, LMSW, or LMHC preferred but not required. Candidates who do not have a license are required to obtain a license or limited permit within 6 months of obtaining employment with OnPoint NYC.
  • Seminar In Field Instruction (SIFI) certification or willingness to obtain within 6 months preferred.
  • Should have 5-7 years direct service experience with marginalized populations including active drug users, sex workers, and formerly incarcerated individuals.  Experience with the delivery of street-based services and outreach strongly preferred.
  • Significant work and/ or life experience in the areas of substance use, sex work, HIV and HCV required.  Knowledge of the Bronx, East Harlem, and/or Washington Heights IDU/substance use communities preferred.  
  • Must have strong interpersonal and team building skills, excellent communication and presentation skills, and the ability and willingness to be hands-on and creatively solve problems as they arise. Strong clinical and managerial/administrative skills are required.
  • Must be committed to the Harm Reduction philosophy and to working with marginalized people (mainly people who use drugs and sex workers) in a multi-cultural, multi-racial environment in a non-judgmental manner.
  • Must be dedicated to advancing an agenda of equal rights and social justice for marginalized individuals, especially through participation in advocacy and community activism.
  • Proficiency with MS Office (including Word, Excel and Outlook) and use of the Internet for research required
  • Experience documenting services in an electronic Health Record (eHR) strongly preferred.
  • Must be willing and able to work outdoors and on Mobile Units at our street sites up to 20% of the time, hours may vary and working one (1) Saturday per month might be required.  
  • Bilingual (English and Spanish) is highly preferred.

This is a bargaining unit position represented by New England Joint Board, Unite Here.

Equal Opportunity Employer

OnPoint NYC is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate relative to race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, medical status, or history of incarceration. Individuals who have personal experience with drug use, women, people of color, members of the LGBTQI+ community, disabled individuals, and the formerly incarcerated are strongly encouraged to apply.


Please submit a cover letter outlining your experience and/or interest in harm reduction, Spanish/English proficiency, and interest in the position in addition to your curriculum vitae/resume. Applicants without a cover letter will not be considered for the position.

Please save your files with your last and first name followed by document title (e.g. Smith J Resume, Smith J Cover Letter)

Our East Harlem location will be closing early at 8:30pm on Wed 5/1 and Fri 5/3. Our Washington Heights location will be open on our regular schedule.

No One Has To Die of An Overdose.

Through our compassionate and effective approach, we’ve saved over 1,000 lives. With your support, we can save many more.