National ACT Virtual Meetings & Discussion Forum to Address Impact of COVID-19

What is ACT?

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a multidisciplinary, team-based model that provides intensive community-based and outreach-oriented services to people who experience the most severe and persistent mental illness. The vast majority also have a co-occurring substance use disorder and many experience comorbid medical illnesses as well as homelessness. This is a vulnerable population and their providers – ACT teams – are at elevated risk themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ACT Team Meetings: First Mondays

The Northwest MHTTC is partnering with the Institute for Best Practices at the University of North Carolina to host and facilitate regular meetings for ACT teams. ACT teams meet on the first Monday of the month. Meetings are currently scheduled through August 2021.

Goals of the meetings are to:

  • connect with one another
  • share strategies and resources for adapting team practices and communications   
  • facilitate connection to the most up-to-date resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Monday, May 3, 2021, 12:00-1:30 pm Pacific/3:00-4:30 pm Eastern: COVID-19 and Substance Abuse: Providing Support During and After the Pandemic by Richard Kruszynski, MSSA, LISW, LICDC, Director Center for Evidence Based Practices, Case Western Reserve. The presence of the coronavirus in our communities has had sweeping implications for the individuals we serve and for how to best serve them. Our discussion will both revisit the foundational considerations of best practices for the provision of support as well as explore emerging trends and themes with respect to substance use and abuse.

Monday, June 7, 2021, 12:00-1:30 pm Pacific/3:00-4:30 pm Eastern: Topic TBA

Monday, July 12, 2021, 12:00-1:30 pm Pacific/3:00-4:30 pm Eastern: Topic TBA

Monday, August 2, 2021, 12:00-1:30 pm Pacific/3:00-4:30 pm Eastern: Topic TBA

Recent Topics

Monday, May 11:  Jennifer Gottlieb, PhD - Quick CBT Skills During COVID-19:  Problem-Solving

Monday, May 18:  Jennifer Gottlieb, PhD - Quick CBT Skills During COVID-19:  Activity Scheduling

Monday, June 1: Antoine Bailliard, PhD OTR/L - Applying an Occupational Therapy Framework in Supporting Individuals in Following CDC COVID-19 Guidelines.

Monday, June 15: John Torous, MD. Evaluating Digital Technologies and Mobile Apps for People with Serious Mental Illness.

Monday, July 6: Pat Deegan. Coming Out of Quarantine Safety Plan.

Monday, July 20: Personal Medicine to Address Worry and Oppression by Patricia Deegan, PhD & Allison Stiles, MA, LPC. Handouts from this meeting:

Monday, August 3: Addressing Self-Care During COVID: Tips and Strategies for ACT Teams with Maria Monroe-DeVita, PhD. Handout from this presentation: 

Monday, September 14:

  • Leaning into Supervision (during a Pandemic) with Stacy L. Smith, M.Ed., LCMHC, member of MINT, Consultant & Clinical Instructor for the Institute for Best Practices, UNC, CECMH.

Monday, October 5:

  • Outreach and Engagement of Vulnerable Populations: Barriers and Successes during COVID-19, with Brittany Barbour, Outreach Team Leader, MSW, LMSW; Leon Farrar, Program Manager, MSW, LCSW; and Don Shipp, ACT Teams Program Manager, MSW, LCSW. Places for People is a community mental health agency in St. Louis Missouri. This presentation provides information on assertive outreach strategies during COVID-19 for un-housed and housing insecure populations experiencing severe and persistent mental health and/or substance use disorders.

Monday, November 2:

  • Accessing Technology for Services During COVID, featuring Thava Mahadevan, MS, Director of Operations, UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health; and Jacob Schonberg, CPSS, Social Work Practitioner, UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health.

Monday, December 7:

  • 2020 in the Rearview Mirror and Planning for Holiday Supports

Monday, January 4:

  • Kicking off the New Year with a Crash Course on Developing Meaningful Objectives within Person-Centered Planning by Lorna Moser, PhD, Director of UNC's Institute for Best Practices.

Monday, February 1:

  • Supporting Covid-19 Vaccine Uptake: An Opportunity for ACT Teams to Strengthen Their Ability to Integrate Physical and Behavioral Health Care with Austin Hall, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine; Medical Director, UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health; and Director, Clinical Informatics, UNC Department of Psychiatry.

Monday, March 1:

  • Establishing a Digital Crisis Plan and Psychiatric Advance Directive with Amy N. Cohen, PhD, Associate Director; Implementation Scientist and SMI Psychological Treatment Expert, American Psychiatric Association, and Zhuoyin Yang, American Psychiatric Association, Project Manager, SMI Adviser.

Monday, April 5:

  • How to Have a Supportive Conversation About the Vaccine: Tips for ACT Teams with Pat Deegan, PhD.

Meeting recordings are available at the Virtual Forum; please scroll down for more details.

ACT Stakeholders Meetings: Quarterly in 2021

We are hosting quarterly meet-ups on Tuesdays for non-provider ACT stakeholders who assume a role of overseeing ACT from a mental health authority perspective, funding ACT, providing ACT training and technical supports, which includes leading ACT fidelity reviews. Meetings are currently scheduled through October 2021.

The intent is to create a unique space to share challenges and solutions related ACT operations and services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This meet-up is hosted by Lorna Moser, PhD, of the Institute for Best Practices, UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health and Maria Monroe-DeVita, PhD of the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Northwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC), the sponsor for these ACT meet-up events.

Virtual Discussion Forum

In addition to the meetings, we have also created a Virtual Discussion Forum to help organize information, resources, and strategies used across teams as well as share recordings of past meetings. You can participate in the forum as a guest, or sign up as a member. Within the Discussion Forum are specific board topics:

  • Support for ACT Service Recipients;
  • Support for ACT Team Staff;
  • Info and Updates: Federal Sources;
  • Info and Updates: State and Local Sources; ACT Fidelity and COVID-19 Pandemic; and Words of Encouragement.
  • Click on a board of interest to read existing threads, react to threads, or post new threads.
  • You can also view recordings of prior meetings at this forum.

For more information or questions, contact:
 Lorna Moser   Lorna Moser, PhD, Director of the UNC ACT Technical Assistance Center in the UNC Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health; and Coordinator of the North Carolina ACT Coalition.
headshot of Dr. Maria Monroe-Devita   Maria Monroe-DeVita, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine; Co-Director of the Northwest MHTTC; and Director, Washington State Center of Excellence in First Episode Psychosis.