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J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc. 2011 Jan-Feb;17(1):57-63. doi: 10.1177/1078390310393737.

Assertive community treatment and the physical health needs of persons with severe mental illness: issues around integration of mental health and physical health.

Author information

  • 1School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 27402, USA. mona.shattell@gmail.com



Assertive community treatment (ACT) is characterized as a service delivery platform and represents an ideal setting in which mental health and physical health care can be integrated.


Little is known about the extent to which ACT integrates physical health care with mental health care or the challenges ACT teams experience. To address this gap, focus groups were conducted with five ACT teams in a Midwestern US state to explore how ACT teams address the physical health care needs of persons with severe mental illness.


A qualitative study design was used.


Three major themes emerged: ACT teams recognize serious and chronic physical health problems, ACT teams take on a variety of roles to address physical health problems, and there are challenges to integrating primary and mental health care within an ACT setting.


ACT needs to be adapted to incorporate promising practices designed to better integrate physical health care and mental health care.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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