California Dreaming-personal memories of ACTA

We have just heard that our big sister, the American ACT Association is calling it a day after 25 years or more of supporting US best practice and providing training to ACT teams throughout the US and beyond. We have collaborated together over 15 years and can recall conferences and meetings between NFAO and ACTA over the pond in San Antonio 2003,  Philadelphia 2004, Chigago 2006, Washington 2009, California 2011, and Exeter and Rotterdam over here. Of course the US context for providing healthcare was a great eye opener for us. Cheri SIxbey of ACTA and her colleagues were incredibly generous to us and threw great parties at the conferences. For those of you who have not been to an ACTA conference then prepare yourself for 600 delegates, all in the same huge hotel, Cheri’s hustling and negotiating skills extracting every possible concession from the Hotel including most years the presidential suite for her (site of the legendary parties). It is at some of these events that lasting links were made with Dutch and Spanish colleagues that continue today.

So it is with great sadness, professionally and personally that NFAO says a fond farewell to ACTA. Thanks for the role model and for sharing so much with us, but above all for making sevices that much more special in your home nation and beyond.
Here is their release in full:

The ACT Association is very sorry to announce that as of September 30, 2014 the organization is closing. We struggled for many years with diminishing resources and capacity and could no longer sustain even the nominal staff (Cheri M. Sixbey and Alexandra Sixbey-Spring) and office required to carry out a large annual conference and numerous trainings. Our last annual conference was in Boston in 2012 and we completed our final ACT training in May of this year.

It has been a great pleasure and gratifying work providing the annual conferences and the ACT trainings for over 25 years in support of the mission of the organization – “to promote, develop, and support high quality assertive community treatment services that help improve the lives of people diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness.”
We feel privileged to have trained, networked, and worked with thousands of ACT services providers throughout the United States and the world, through our annual conferences and other trainings and consultations.

We wish everyone in the international ACT community all the best and trust that this important service model will remain viable and continue to enhance the quality of life of everyone involved with it. Those of us here at the ACT Association certainly know that our lives have been forever changed by this rewarding work.

Many, many thanks to all of you – founders, Board members, individual and organizational members, who believed in and supported the ACT Association throughout its existence – we could not have succeeded without you and will remember you all warmly.

You can reach us at our ACT Association email addresses through September 15, 2014 when the ACT Association website will close down. For those of you who may wish to contact us after that time you can reach us at

art museum & colleagues

Philadelphia with John Freeman (Sheffield) and the Texas ACT people

Washington DC NFAO

NFAO delegation, Washington 2009 L-R Caroline Williams, Kevin Brenton, Sue Jugon and Mike Firn

Mike and Judy Times Sq NYC

NFAO delegation to Philadelphia, Mike Firn and Judith Fairweather on detour to NYC (pic John Freeman)


Conference venue 2010, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, 21500 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648, United States


1 thought on “California Dreaming-personal memories of ACTA

  1. Simon Wharne

    This is sad news as the enthusiasm and motivation of our U.S.A. colleagues has been an inspiration for many years. I gained a lot from attending the A.C.T.A. conferences in Chicago and Boston. I am sure that there is a huge pool of knowledge and expertise which will take good practice forward. But we must be concerned about where the next generation of capable community mental health workers will come from.

    Thanks to Cheri Sixby, her family and colleagues, for working hard to promote good practice in Assertive Outreach.


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