Key messages

  • Acute community intervention services (ACIS) respond to requests for urgent assistance 24 hours a day.
  • Members of the public, police, ambulance, general practitioners, service providers and others can request these services.
  • ACIS is delivered through telephone triage, emergency departments and community outreach.

Acute community intervention service (ACIS) provides urgent advice, referral and treatment to people with a mental illness who are acutely ill or in crisis. The service is provided through telephone triage, mental healthcare in emergency departments and community mental health.

ACIS responses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They operate out of Victoria’s area mental health services.

How to initiate an ACIS response

An ACIS response is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for people of all ages through a locally relevant application of the following three approaches:

  • telephone triage – an initial telephone assessment to determine the urgency and nature of an ACIS response
  • emergency department care – a senior mental health practitioner is available for assessment, consultation and advice.
  • acute assertive community outreach – an ACIS response delivers short- to medium-term community treatment as an alternative to acute inpatient treatment or to support transition from inpatient services.

ACIS guidelines

The Mental health service delivery: Acute Community Intervention Services guidelines provide guidance for specialist clinical mental health services responding to calls for help from people with a mental illness.

The guidelines are also relevant for emergency services such as Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria.

These guidelines:

  • provide a framework for delivering acute community-based mental health services across Victoria’s clinical designated mental health services, in line with sound practice and service reforms
  • provide information and practice guidance that is consistent with the requirements of the Mental Health Act 2014
  • describe the functions of acute assessment and community treatment as part of a suite of specialist clinical mental health services
  • articulate the expectations of specialist clinical mental health services when working with external organisations.