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Since the deinstitutionalization era began nearly 50 years ago, several models of community-based care for persons with severe mental illnesses have been developed. Of these models, the assertive community treatment (ACT) program has by far the strongest empirical support. ACT is a comprehensive care model in which a multidisciplinary, community-based team takes responsibility for engaging, assessing, treating, and providing support services for a discrete group of individuals with severe mental illnesses. Usually the patients, or clients, assigned to an ACT team are high utilizers of hospital services or have been unstable and difficult to engage in community-based services. The goals of ACT are not only to help people stay out of the hospital but also to help them achieve optimal functioning and support in the community. The papers that comprise this special section present several current approaches to research on ACT and have arisen from a longstanding ACT research collaboration. In this introduction, the research network, as well as the articles, are described, and directions for future research are suggested. (Authors)
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services