In October, CASES will assume leadership of the Manhattan Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team. CASES was selected to lead the team by the NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) in a competitive application process. The CASES Manhattan ACT Team will provide comprehensive, community-based psychiatric treatment, rehabilitation, and support to persons with serious and persistent mental illness in northern Manhattan, including the communities of Harlem, Inwood, and Washington Heights.
The Manhattan program is CASES’ second state-licensed ACT Team. Since 2003, CASES has operated the Nathaniel ACT Team serving individuals in New York City indicted on felony charges who are jail- or prison-bound and have severe and persistent mental illness. In 2009, OMH granted CASES a 33-month operating license in recognition of Nathaniel ACT’s effectiveness in enabling participants to live in the community without reliance on institutional care and while avoiding further criminal involvement.
Many clients served by Nathaniel ACT reside in northern Manhattan. Bradley Jacobs, CASES’ deputy director of adult behavioral health programs, believes the new Manhattan ACT Team will enable CASES to more fully address community needs.
“Whereas the mandate of the Nathaniel ACT Team is to serve a citywide client-base – individuals linked by their court-involvement – the new program will focus more on treatment integrated within the context of specific neighborhoods,” Jacobs said. “We look forward to deepening our services in northern Manhattan, and to addressing the unique needs of individuals with mental illness living in those communities.”
The Manhattan ACT Team is the second recent, significant expansion of CASES’ mental health services. On July 1, CASES launched the Criminal Court Women’s Diversion Program (WDP) to provide an alternative sanction for women charged with misdemeanor offenses in NY County. WDP primarily targets women with mental illness or substance abuse disorders. The program’s pilot phase provides gender-specific mental health and support services to 40-45 women annually. WDP addresses court-involved women’s distinct needs and risk factors, including children and parenting, histories of abuse and trauma, and threats to personal safety.