Innovations in Community Crisis Intervention — Adopting the ACT and AtCER MODEL in The COVID-19 Outbreak


Prepared by

Mr. Johnston H. C. Wong

Social Work and Social Administration Programme,

Beijing Normal University – Hong Kong Baptist University United International College


Early studies tended to focus on the roles and functions of the social workers in the rescue stage however the need of an action model to guide disaster social work is not unaddressed. After the September 11 terrorist attack in 2001, Albert R Roberts outlined superbly the Assessment, Crisis intervention and Trauma Treatment: the Integrative ACT Intervention Model (2002). This is one important attempt to guide social workers’ response to natural and human disasters. By hindsight, the ACT Model has its limitations especially in not being able to discuss how social work can help the community to develop resilience and build social capacity. After the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, Social Workers Across Borders (hereafter referred as SWAB) a social worker volunteers organization rose to the challenge and acted immediately and continually from response to reconstruction phase. The ACT model was adopted as our major intervention approach. Again in 2020, to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, SWAB was invited as early as Jan 23rd, to provide training to professional volunteers composed of medical students, psychological counselors and social workers who are going to support on the web those suspected patients staying in guarantined hotels and home. Later the services were extended to patients who were taken care of in cabin hospitals. SWAB immediately employed the ACT Model in formulating our training and later guide social workers’ interventions. Particularly in response to the very specific nature of this critical incident which is a community outbreak, the ACT Model was expanded to incorporate community work approach and skills. An supplementary model given the name of AtCER is introduced and experimented. This paper will present the concepts of AtCER and discuss how it can be applied to COVID-19 response.

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Innovations in Community Crisis Intervention -- Adopting the ACT and AtCER MODEL in The COVID-19 Outbreak_Full