Welcome to IMPACT

What is the Assertive Community Treatment program?

The Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program is designed for individuals with serious mental health problems who need support to live in the community. ACT teams consist of a range of health professionals who make substantial effort to connect with these vulnerable individuals, including extensive outreach and home visitations. The ACT model has been found to decrease hospitalizations and increase quality of life for people with serious mental illnesses.

How did the IMPACT research begin?

Island Health and the Victoria Police Department first approached us in the spring of 2017 to conduct research on the impact of police officers on Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams. We agreed to do so on the condition that we would have full independence in reporting our findings. Because little research has explored the question of how police involvement affects ACT teams, we decided that the initial focus should be on understanding the experiences of those people who are directly involved: a) the individuals who have lived experience of receiving services from ACT teams, and b) ACT staff from multiple disciplinary backgrounds (such as nursing, addictions, and peer support).

To further expand on our findings, we designed a follow-up study to provide us with more opportunities to hear from a broad range of voices. As with our first report, Island Health and the Victoria Police Department did not provide any financial resources or have any editorial control over what we present in this report. The work reported here was funded by a BC Crime Reduction and Crime Prevention grant. We also maintained the same anti-oppressive and trauma-informed approach that we adopted in the first phase of this research. We acted with an awareness of the power dynamics between us and our participants and made conscious efforts to disrupt this imbalance by recognizing the expertise of the interviewees. We approached each interview with curiosity and with the assumption that the interviewee was the most knowledgeable person in the interview.