Those who have struggled with severe and persistent mental illness may be able to seek a new care-and-treatment option at The Center for Counseling & Consultation.
The new service is called Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) and is available for people who qualify. It was made possible with a recent $150,000 grant from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS).
“This is an evidence-based practice to help those with illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia,” said Tracie Haselhorst, ACT team leader and The Center’s crisis coordinator. “It is an interdisciplinary approach for those who need a higher level of care.
“Our team supports these clients in their homes and in the community,” she added. “We want to improve their quality of life with treatment individually tailored to each person.”
Two specific goals are to reduce hospitalizations and incarcerations. All information is tracked and team meetings are documented to determine if these goals are met.
“We meet with each client up to three times a week; it is that intensive,” Haselhorst noted. “Currently, there are six people in the program and we anticipate that number will grow.”
The ACT team consists of seven members, including Haselhorst. It includes a psychiatrist, registered nurse, and specialists in substance-use, housing, employment and community supports.
Other professionals at The Center keep in regular contact with the ACT team to share information. Peer support and SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) also are involved.
“We also work with Community Corrections,” Haselhorst noted. “If they see someone who is struggling and needs help beyond traditional case management, they can let us know. Primary-care physicians may also contact us.
“Our team is available 24/7 and we work with clients at their individual stages of recovery,” Haselhorst continued. “They know we are here for them. We also are kept in the loop with the mental-health practitioner of the person’s choice.”
Clients are given a specific ACT crisis-line phone number and the names of the people on the team. They also are equipped with: The Center’s crisis line, 1-800-875-2544; National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255; and the relatively new national suicide/crisis number, 988. A text to 741741 also is available.
Participation in ACT is strictly voluntary; it is designed for those 18 and older.
“We encourage those with severe mental illness to participate because we want them to engage with us and receive the higher level of care they deserve,” Haselhorst said.
During an initial assessment, clients answer questions about their psychiatric history; physical health; alcohol-and-drug use; education and employment; social development and functioning; activities of daily living; and family and relationships.
ACT is just one part of The Center’s efforts to provide Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic services. CCBHC is a multidimensional program; The Center plans to be pre-certified in July.
Julie Kramp, executive director at The Center, said the state grant that supports the ACT team “was essential to our ability to recruit, hire and train the required staff. We are incredibly appreciative to KDADS for helping us develop a solid foundation for a successful and sustainable model for these important services.”
The Center for Counseling & Consultation is a Community Mental Health Center serving Barton, Pawnee, Rice and Stafford counties. Professionally trained personnel offer: individual and group therapy; marriage and family counseling; community-support services; community-based services; psychosocial rehabilitation; peer support; and medication management. The confidential 24/7 crisis hotline number is 800-875-2544.