Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is an evidenced-based practice that improves outcomes for people with mental health disorder who are most at-risk of psychiatric crisis and hospitalization and involvement in the criminal justice system. ACT is one of the oldest and most widely researched evidence-based practices in behavioral healthcare for people with severe mental illness.
ACT is a multidisciplinary team approach with assertive outreach in the community. This program is 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days a year, with a team member always on call. The consistent, caring, person-centered relationships have a positive effect upon outcomes and quality of life. Research shows that ACT reduces hospitalization, increases housing stability, and improves quality of life for people with the most severe symptoms of mental illness. ACT intensity is based on the consumer's treatment plan and varies from consumer to consumer.
The ACT team requires a sufficient number of qualified staff to assure the provision of an intensive array of services on a 24-hour basis. Teams must have at least 3 staff members but generally are comprised of 4-9 staff members, with the expected average team of 6-7 staff members. A physician, psychiatrist, and RN are also part of the staff readily available to ACT participants. All ACT team members have a shared responsibility in for each ACT consumer's psychiatric services, counseling/psychotherapy, peer support, housing support, substance abuse treatment, employment, and rehabilitative services in home or in the community. Due to the intensity, it is also a small program, with the provider to consumer ratio being 1:10.
Discharge from an ACT program to less intensive services may occur for several reasons. This can happen when the consumer obtains sufficient recovery to no longer meet the criteria for severe mental illness, or the consumer has been found to be impossible to engage even with significant outreach, or a change of residence outside of service area occurred and the ACT team assisted in obtaining new mental health services.
Read what the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has to say about ACT here.