Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)

For people whose needs have not been met by the traditional mental health services system, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) offers an innovative, evidence-based approach that seeks to eliminate the barriers that prevent these individuals from receiving the help they need.

Population Served

ACT typically serves people who have have a diagnosis of serious mental illness and a history of psychiatric hospitalizations, involvement with the criminal justice system, substance abuse, and difficulty with adherence to medication. 

Traditional outpatient services have not met these individuals' needs. They have struggled to maintain close relationships, find stable housing, and achieve their vocational and educational goals. 

The ACT Model

ACT provides an integrated set of evidence-based treatment, rehabilitation, case management, and support services delivered by a mobile, multidisciplinary mental health treatment team.

Each ACT team comprises a psychiatrist/psychiatric nurse practitioner, a nurse, social workers and mental health counselors, and peer support staff. The team works with clients, their families, and other service providers to create a comprehensive, person-centered plan that addresses each client's specific needs.

As these clients have not been successfully served in traditional office-based models, most contacts occur in the community – at home, in a shelter, on a park bench, at a neighborhood coffee shop, wherever is most comfortable and convenient for the client.

The team provides as many contacts and as much service time as needed; the goal is at least six contacts per month. ACT services are available 24/7 to provide support and assistance.

ACT at The Bridge

The Bridge has seven ACT Teams operating in Manhattan and the Bronx, including:

  • Three shelter-based teams, which work with people currently residing in the New York City shelter system. In addition to the services discussed above, these teams collaborate with shelter staff to help participants find appropriate housing and move on from the shelter system.
  • A forensic team, which specializes in working with individuals who have a recent history of criminal justice involvement. 

Services Offered

In addition to comprehensive service planning, ACT teams provide:

  • Psychopharmacology services, medication administration and monitoring
  • Integrated treatment for co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders
  • Family psychoeducation and support 
  • Assistance and counseling with housing and benefits
  • Vocational and educational planning, referrals, and support
  • Healthcare referrals and monitoring
  • Help learning and practicing community-living skills
  • Empowerment and self-help

Referrals

The Bridge's ACT Teams do not accept applications directly.

For referral to ACT services, individuals must submit an application through the Department of Health's Single Point of Access (SPOA). If an applicant is deemed eligible for ACT services, SPOA will refer the individual to an appropriate ACT program.