Classroom Course » Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Training

Dates & Times:
December 01, Wednesday 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Hosted By:
Imperial County Behavioral Health Services

Self registration for this course is not allowed.
Please contact your supervisor or site administrator to register.

The Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a multidisciplinary team approach with assertive outreach in the community. 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 may also reduce staff burnout and increase job satisfaction, cost effectiveness, and client satisfaction.

ACT is a service-delivery model that provides comprehensive, locally based treatment to people with serious and persistent mental illnesses. Unlike other community-based programs, ACT is not a linkage or brokerage case-management program that connects individuals to mental health, housing, or rehabilitation agencies or services. Rather, it provides highly individualized services directly to consumers. ACT recipients receive the multidisciplinary, round-the-clock staffing of a psychiatric unit, but within the comfort of their own home and community. To have the competencies and skills to meet a client's multiple treatment, rehabilitation, and support needs, ACT team members are trained in the areas of psychiatry, social work, nursing, substance abuse, and vocational rehabilitation.

The ACT model evolved out of work led by Arnold Marx, M.D., Leonard Stein, M.D., and Mary Ann Test, Ph.D., on an inpatient research unit of Mendota State Hospital, Madison, Wisconsin, in the late 1960s. Noting that the gains made by clients in the hospital were often lost when they moved back into the community, they hypothesized that the hospital's round-the-clock care helped alleviate clients' symptoms and that this ongoing support and treatment was just as important - if not more so - following discharge. In 1972, the researchers moved hospital-ward treatment staff into the community to test their assumption and, thus, launched ACT.
ACT strives to lessen or eliminate the debilitating symptoms of mental illness each individual client experiences and to minimize or prevent recurrent acute episodes of the illness, to meet basic needs and enhance quality of life, to improve functioning in adult social and employment roles, to enhance an individual's ability to live independently in his or her own community, and to lessen the family's burden of providing care. 

Key features of ACT

  • Psychopharmacologic treatment, including new atypical antipsychotic and antidepressant medications
  • Individual supportive therapy
  • Mobile crisis intervention
  • Hospitalization
  • Substance abuse treatment, including group therapy (for clients with a dual diagnosis of substance abuse
  • and mental illness)

  • Behaviorally oriented skill teaching (supportive and cognitive-behavioral therapy), including structuring time and handling activities of daily living
  • Supported employment, both paid and volunteer work
  • Support for resuming education

Support services:
  • Support, education, and skill-teaching to family members
  • Collaboration with families and assistance to clients with children
  • Direct support to help clients obtain legal and advocacy services, financial support, supported housing, money-management services, and transportation
The ACT model is indicated for individuals in their late teens to their elderly years who have a severe and persistent mental illness causing symptoms and impairments that produce distress and major disability in adult functioning (e.g., employment, self-care, and social and interpersonal relationships). ACT participants usually are people with schizophrenia, other psychotic disorders (e.g., schizoaffective disorder), and bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness); those who experience significant disability from other mental illnesses and are not helped by traditional outpatient models; those who have difficulty getting to appointments on their own as in the traditional model of case management; those who have had bad experiences in the traditional system; or those who have limited understanding of their need for help.
Intended Audience:
Administrators, Managers, Supervisors, Doctors, Clinicians, Nurses, MHRTs, SUD-Cs, Clerical, CSWs and MHWs.