HopeWorks’ Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team was established in 2008. The ACT Team consists of 11 mental health professionals ( social workers, psychiatric RNs, peer specialist) who that provide intensive outpatient mental health services to clients in the community.
ACT was started by a group of mental health professionals in Wisconsin in the late 1960s. This group noted that gains made by clients in the hospital often did not transfer to the community and concluded that round the clock, multidisciplinary care that helped clients in the hospital was just as important after they were discharged. ACT treatment is now used nationwide and worldwide, in Spain, Australia, Canada, and elsewhere. ACT is often referred to as “A hospital without walls” and prides itself on having an assertive “Can do” approach.
ACT serves clients who are diagnosed with severe mental illness: mainly schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. ACT clients can be dually diagnosed with a mental illness and substance abuse disorder. ACT serves clients who are resistant to treatment and who have failed traditional case management services. ACT is meant to serve the clients who are in the greatest need of mental health services. ACT has a relatively small caseload with a 1:10 staff/client ratio. This is so ACT can provide highly individualized services to clients. Ninety percent of ACT services are provided out in the community.
ACT sees clients a minimum of twice a week and up to as much as seven days a week. The intensity of services depends on each individualized client’s needs can fluctuate depending on the situation.
The goals of ACT are as follows:
- Decrease the time people with severe and persistent mental illness spend in the hospitals and jail.
- Facilitate community living and rehabilitation/recovery services.
- Lessen debilitating symptoms of mental illness and prevent recurrent acute episodes.
- Help people meet their basic needs and enhance quality of life.