News and Resources

Engaging Participants with Assertive Community Treatment

In the early 1970s a new method of providing services to individuals living with serious mental illness was developed: Assertive Community Treatment. ACT has been extensively researched and and has proved to have the best results for helping individuals engage in treatment and recovery, avoid hospitalization and live in more stable housing.

ACT teams provide services 24/7, including crisis intervention, and have a low client-to-staff ratio, usually 10:1. WestBridge uses the ACT model for all outpatient services.

The ACT model provides a team of clinicians from a variety of specialties– medicine, rehabilitation, substance abuse counseling, vocations counseling and peer counseling. This team works collectively with individuals who have difficulty engaging in support and remaining in the community.

In addition to offering traditional therapies, such as individual, group and family counseling and medications, an ACT team provides daily outreach to individuals in their homes and other community settings. The team supports them in finding and and keeping safe housing, food shopping, budgeting, transportation, accessing medical care, going to school and working.

An important aspect of ACT is the team’s ability to engage individuals who may have given up on themselves or whose illness prevents them from seeking help. Assertive Community Treatment helps individuals create and nurture important relationships that foster personal growth. These relationships–with family members, medical providers, landlords or employers– help heal the isolation that can occur for someone with a mental illness and substance use disorder.

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