Assertive Community Treatment

What is Assertive Community Treatment?

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a community-based program that delivers comprehensive services to individuals diagnosed with serious mental illness whose needs have not been met by traditional, office-based services. Described as an outpatient clinic without walls, a team of clinicians provides services including:

  • Mental health evaluation and treatment
  • Substance abuse evaluation and treatment
  • Employment services
  • Case management
  • Family psycho-education and support
  • Life-skills acquisition
  • Housing
  • Transition planning

ACT is an effective, evidence-based program highly regulated by the state. Each participant works with a team of clinicians: a psychiatrist, nurse, family specialist, vocational specialist and substance use specialist. The program requires six contacts per month with each patient, five of which must be local and face-to-face. Participation is voluntary, although many of these arrangements are part of court-ordered Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT).

What is the purpose of ACT?

ACT services are designed to help participants achieve and maintain life goals such as:

  • Stable housing
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Symptom management
  • Personal stability
  • Improved health and wellness
  • Reduction in medical and psychiatric hospitalizations
  • Integration with the larger community

Average length of stay with an ACT team is approximately five years with the goal of transitioning back to a traditional clinic setting.

What services does ACT provide?

Based on the needs and self-identified goals of participants, services can include:

  • Care management
  • Medication management, distribution and injections
  • Family, relationship and personal counseling
  • Individual therapy
  • Treatment groups
  • Educational and vocational assessment and assistance
  • Substance use treatment support
  • Psycho-education

The ACT team is also able to assist with:

  • Transportation and support for appointments
  • Immediate needs like clothing, food and housing
  • Connection to social groups, interactions and leisure activities
  • Work opportunities
  • Money management
  • Substance use treatment
  • Problem solving and ongoing daily support of life activities

Additionally, the ACT team provides 24-hour on call crisis intervention and support.

Who is eligible for ACT services?

ACT services are for adults (age 18 or older) with a severe and persistent mental illness that significantly affects their ability to live within the community.

The Unity ACT team can serve up to 48 individuals and, by regulation, cannot admit more than six new participants per month. Priority is given to people being discharged from hospitals who do not have AOT, and/or who are currently without access to services and are at high risk for harm.

While substance use treatment support is a feature of ACT services, individuals whose primary diagnosis is substance abuse are not eligible.

What is the admission and discharge process for ACT services?

The admission process for ACT begins with client-signed consent and a referral made directly to the Monroe County Single Point of Access (SOPA).

Within seven days of the referral, the ACT program must complete the required immediate needs assessment with the prospective participant. Those who are unavailable to meet, refuse to enroll or unable to be contacted after reasonable attempts will not be admitted. Referrals can be re-opened.

Unity ACT team

Practice Coordinator: Davonya Washington
Director- Kathy Auberger, LCSW-R
Psychiatrist- Dr. Ryan Bell
Team Leader: Beth Hatfield, LMSW
Registered Nurse: Tara Selvaggio, RN
Employment Specialist: Jennie Dixon, LMSW
Family Specialist: Brandon Switzer, LMSW

St. Mary’s Campus
89 Genesee Street, Rochester, NY 14611
Office hours: Monday – Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm