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Keywords:

  • adolescence;
  • assertive community treatment;
  • home treatment;
  • HoNOSCA ;
  • mobile team

Abstract

Aim

The study aims to evaluate the effects of assertive community treatment (ACT) on the mental health and overall functioning of adolescents suffering from severe psychiatric disorders and who refuse any traditional child psychiatric care. There are a few studies evaluating the effects of ACT on a population of adolescents with psychiatric disorders. This short report highlights the impact of an ACT programme tailored to the needs of these patients, not only as an alternative to hospitalization, but also as a new form of intervention for patients that are difficult to engage.

Methods

The effect of ACT on 35 adolescents using the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA) as a measuring tool in pre- and post-intervention was evaluated.

Results

The results show that the intervention was associated with a significant improvement on the HoNOSCA overall score, with the following items showing significant amelioration: hyperactivity/focus problems, non-organic somatic symptoms, emotional symptoms, scholastic/language skills, peer relationships, family relationships and school attendance.

Conclusion

ACT appears as a feasible intervention for hard-to-engage adolescents suffering from psychiatric disorders. The intervention seems to improve their mental health and functioning. This pilot study may serve as a basis to prepare a controlled study that will also take the costs of the intervention into account.