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What is Assertive Community Treatment?

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a kind of mental health care provided in the community for individuals who suffer from severe mental illnesses or addictions that prevent them from living independently, fulfilling everyday responsibilities, and managing mental health symptoms. 

The main goal of assertive community treatment is similar to that of traditional treatment programs but utilizes a more comprehensive, individual-focused approach. Integrating the interdisciplinary fields of mental illness and substance abuse, ACT provides treatment outside of a hospital or recovery facility in order to provide more personalized care that better suits the needs of every individual patient. Individuals with debilitating mental health conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, as well as individuals who have not responded well to outpatient therapy in the past, benefit greatly from the assertive community treatment model of care.

How Assertive Community Treatment Helps

In assertive community treatment, individualized and highly specialized services are offered to clients every day of the year. There are medical professionals available to assist patients with all aspects of their lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with backgrounds in psychology, social care, drug abuse recovery, case management, and social work. 

The patient’s home or neighborhood is the setting where treatment is provided, which provides a level of comfort that many psychologically ill individuals do not experience when they seek conventional inpatient treatment. The goal is to provide comprehensive care that is as effective as possible for every client.

The ACT method emphasizes personalized learning life skills and coping strategies customized specifically to an individual’s specific mental disorder and can, therefore, reduce hospitalizations and crisis situations when applied correctly. Studies have shown that states that employ assertive community treatment programs experience substantial decreases in hospital stays and jail sentences for mentally ill patients. 

Additionally, according to research, the ACT model may be beneficial for stressed and overworked mental health professionals. ACT case managers report less job stress and greater job satisfaction despite serving individuals with intensive needs. Shared responsibility, abundant peer support, and clear roles are all factors that contribute to the reduced likelihood of burnout among workers in assertive community treatment.

How ACT is Different Than Traditional Care

In traditional care for severe mental disorders, most people receive case management services through a linkage or brokerage network that provides them with access to various mental health, housing, and rehabilitation providers in their local area. In this conventional setting, mentally ill patients are typically managed by an individual case manager who works for a case management program and is responsible for their respective caseload.

In contrast, ACT multidisciplinary teams work together. ACT teams collaborate to provide the majority of the care, rehabilitation, and support services needed to keep clients happy and healthy in their community. Every member of the team is vital and plays a critical role in the treatment process. Patient caseloads are typically shared by the team as opposed to being assigned to individual members. 

As a result of these differences, people with severe mental illnesses are often unable to receive adequate treatment through conventional outpatient care, which typically involves referring patients to different facilities they must attend on their own. Often, patients struggle to observe scheduled appointments and follow care providers’ instructions.

Life Adjustment Team’s Assertive Community Treatment Options

At LAT, assertive community treatment services are what we do best. We believe that effective case management is a collaborative effort between our team and clients, as well as their families and the community at large. We are a team of dedicated health and wellness professionals who help diagnose problems, coordinate plans, provide mentorship and advocate for courses of action and key services that support holistic health and wellbeing. We achieve this through open and honest communication, collaborating on strategies, and supporting patient access to available resources in order to enhance patient safety, quality of life, and quality and affordability of care.

We believe when individuals’ needs are met and when they reach an optimum level of wellness, independence, and functional capability, they become empowered to lead better, more productive, and more stable lives. The first step is identifying the type of support an individual needs. We help our clients and their families identify the various factors that contribute to and exacerbate their illnesses and identify obstacles to recovery, and work together to develop strategies to overcome them.

Contact the Mental Health Experts at Life Adjustment Team Today and Get Started With ACT

Contact a member of our clinical team today if you or a loved one are struggling with your mental health.