Welcome to ACT-BC.com
The B.C. Assertive Community Treatment Program
It's never easy, but with care and persistence our teams help people severely affected by mental health problems and substance abuse.
What is Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)?
Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a recovery-oriented mental health service delivery model that uses a psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) approach and has received substantial empirical support for facilitating community living, psychosocial rehabilitative services, and recovery for persons who are living with the most serious mental illnesses, have severe symptoms and impairments, and have not benefited from traditional outpatient programs.
Who does ACT serve?
ACT serves clients living with complex mental illnesses and substance use disorders and have very significant functional impairments, and who may have gone without appropriate services because of the limitations of traditional mental health services. Those who access ACT services are often over-represented among the homeless, jails, and correctional facilities, and has been unfairly thought to resist or avoid involvement in treatment.
What does ACT offer?
- Multi-disciplinary team approach: ACT services are delivered by a group of multi-disciplinary mental health staff who work as a team and provide the majority of treatment, rehabilitation, and support services clients need to achieve their goals. The team is directed by a team coordinator and a psychiatrist and includes sufficient number of staff from the core mental health disciplines (e.g., registered nurse, social worker, occupational therapist, substance abuse specialist, vocational specialist), at least one peer support specialist, and a program or administrative support staff. The team as a whole is responsible for ensuring that clients receive the services they need to live in the community and reach their personal goals. Many, if not all, staff share responsibility for addressing the needs of all clients requiring frequent contact.
- Intensive services and small case-load: ACT services provide treatment, rehabilitation, and support services 24 hours a day, seven days per week. ACT services respond to the needs of clients by having the capacity to provide multiple contacts each week (average of three contacts per week) with clients experiencing severe symptoms. ACT teams are able to rapidly increase service intensity to a client when his or her status requires it or a client requests it. The staff to client ratio is as high as 1:10 and as low as 1:7 on full size teams.
- On-going community services: ACT services are delivered in an ongoing rather than time-limited framework to aid the process of recovery and ensure continuity of caregiver. Serious mental illnesses are episodic disorders and many clients benefit from the availability of a longer-term treatment/service approach and continuity of care. This allows clients the opportunity to re-compensate, consolidate gains, sometimes slip back, and then take the next steps forward until they achieve their recovery goals. The ACT team is mobile and delivers the majority of services in community locations (e.g., client homes, workplaces, parks, recreation locations) of the client's choosing.
- Flexible individualized services: ACT services are individually tailored for each each client and address the preferences and identified goals of each client, using a psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) approach. Treatment plans are developed collaboratively by the team, the client and their family (if possible) and are based on the individual's strengths, needs, desires, goals, and culture. Using a PSR approach, treatment plans include all aspects of the individual's life such as, employment, education, basic living skills, wellness, and leisure. Treatment plans are revisited every 6 months and are modified as needed through on-going assessment and goal-setting. ACT teams meet daily to discuss the progress of each client, which allow teams to quickly adjust their services to meet the client's needs.
ACT services assist individuals living with serious mental illness to live in the community, make improvements in functioning, to better manage symptoms, to achieve goals, and to maintain optimism. The ACT team work closely together to blend their knowledge and skills and ensure that the care for each client is coordinated, comprehensive, and continuous.
Programs that adhere most closely to the ACT model are more likely to get the best outcomes.