Full Definition

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)

"Assertive Community Treatment" (ACT) is an evidence-based practice designed to provide comprehensive treatment and support services to individuals with serious and persistent mental illness. ACT is intended to serve individuals who have severe functional impairments and who have not responded to traditional psychiatric outpatient treatment. ACT services are provided by a single multi-disciplinary team, which typically includes a psychiatrist, a nurse, and at least two case managers, and are designed to meet the individual needs of each individual and to help keep the individual in the community and out of a structured service setting, such as residential and/or hospital care. ACT is characterized by 

(1) low client to staff ratios; 

(2) providing services in the community rather than in the office; 

(3) shared caseloads among team members; 

(4) 24-hour staff availability, 

(5) direct provision of all services by the team (rather than referring individuals to other agencies); and 

(6) time-unlimited services.