Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is an Evidence-Based Practice designed to provide comprehensive treatment and support services to individuals who are diagnosed with severe mental illness. ACT services are provided by a single multi-disciplinary team and are designed to meet the individual needs of each consumer.
The key essential components of ACT are:
- Team approach. All ACT team members know and work with all individuals served by the team.
- Small caseloads. ACT caseloads are typically staffed at a ratio of 1:10 (1 full time team member for 10 individuals served by the team)
- Multidisciplinary team. The ACT team includes a licensed medical practitioner (psychiatrist or PMHNP), nurses, substance abuse specialists, supported employment specialists, peer support specialists, case managers, and other mental health specialists.
- Full responsibility. The ACT team carries full responsibility for all treatment needs, including: case management, psychiatric services, counseling / psychotherapy, housing support, substance abuse treatment, employment services, crisis management, hospital admit and discharge planning, and other evidence based practices as needed by each consumer.
- Frequent contact. ACT team members have frequent face to face contact with each person served by the team, an average of four times a week.
- Services in the community. Most services are provided in the community where people live and work.
- Time unlimited services. Services are provided for as long as an individual wants and needs intensive treatment. Due to the significant cognitive impairments associated with severe mental illness, the process of recovery often takes many years.
- Recovery and strengths based approach. Treatment services are individualized to meet the treatment goals of each individual receiving ACT services. Treatment plans are developed by and with each individual to reflect their strengths, needs, life goals, hopes and desires.
- Active engagement. The ACT team reaches out to people that historically have not engaged in traditional mental health services.
- Natural supports. Staff work with individuals and their family members, and other important people in their life to provide the desired supports to achieve and sustain life goals.
- Focus on employment and educational attainment. Work and education are keys to achieving personal goals, financial self-sufficiency, and improved quality of life. The ACT team supports everyone receiving services who chooses to pursue education and employment by providing these services directly.
- Daily team meetings. The ACT staff meets daily to plan and review service needs for each person being served.