Treatment that meets the needs of patients gets a boost from the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team at the Guidance Center, from left to right, Angela Carkin, caseworker; Holly Kilpatrick, peer support specialist; Jamie Digel, program assistant; Dr. Joshua Halbauer, medical director; Terry Carr, caseworker; Aaron Gage, therapist; Holly Franzen, program director.


The Guidance Center has expanded its adult community based services with the implementation of the first Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team in 23 counties of Pennsylvania that make up the North Central region.

Guidance Center Executive Director Denise Bean, stated “This program is possible only through true community partnerships. Typically, ACT programs have not been implemented in rural areas but through the support of McKean County Department of Human Services, Community Care Behavioral Health, Office of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services and the Behavioral Health Alliance of Rural Pennsylvania, we have been able to modify the program to adapt to our community.”

ACT is a service-delivery model that provides comprehensive, locally based treatment to people with serious and persistent mental illnesses.

Holly Franzen, program director, shared “It is reported that one in four adults have a mental health disorder. Out of these individuals 1.2% have schizophrenia, a significant and persistent mental health condition. It is these individuals that the ACT program seeks to serve through this evidenced-based program.”

Unlike other community-based programs, ACT is not a linkage or brokerage case management program but provides highly individualized services directly to individuals. The ACT program has key features of treatment, rehabilitation and support services provided by a multidisciplinary team. Individuals receive round the clock staffing of a psychiatric unit, but within the comfort of their own home or community setting. ACT services are provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.

Additionally, Bean added, “we are also fortunate that Northwest Savings Bank donated some funds for us to put towards the purchase of a vehicle so staff can safely travel throughout the county to meet individuals where they are.”

The ACT team can serve up to 45 individuals at one time.

To learn more about the ACT program or The Guidance Center, visit the website at or call (814) 362-6535.