Psychiatry :: Evaluating the effectiveness of Assertive Community Treatment

With $2.5 million in new support from the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers from the Regenstrief Institute, Inc., Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and Adult and Child Mental Health Center, Inc. are evaluating the effectiveness of Assertive Community Treatment.

ACT is a popular care management model which provides highly individualized psychiatric, social work, vocational and other services from a dedicated team to help severely mentally ill individuals live at home rather than in a hospital, nursing home, jail or on the streets.

“ACT programs across the country have a track record of success in reducing far costlier hospitalizations and other adverse consequences associated with lack of treatment,” said Michelle Salyers, Ph.D., principal investigator of the new grant and co-director of the state-funded Indiana ACT Center. The center has helped develop 31 certified ACT teams based at community mental health facilities across the state.

“The premise of the ACT model is that people with severe mental illness can have meaningful lives where they can contribute to society rather than only need its services. With this funding we are studying ACT programs throughout the state to see what the ACT teams are doing and how they impact the severely mentally ill and their families,” she said.

In addition to being a Regenstrief research scientist, Dr. Salyers is an associate director of the IU Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research and of the V.A. Health Services Research and Development Center on Implementing Evidence-based Practice at the Roudebush VA Medical Center and an associate research professor in IUPUI’s Department of Psychology.

“Helping individuals with severe mental illness focus on personal recovery goals and then learning the skills and knowledge they need to achieve these goals is the ultimate objective of our work. We are now learning from people with severe mental illness and their families how successful we are in helping them achieve their goals,” said Dr. Salyers.