Assertive Outreach Teams (AOTs)

What are assertive outreach teams (AOTs)?

Assertive outreach teams (AOTs) are specialist mental health services. They may be part of the community mental health team (CMHT), or they might be a separate team. They work with people who are over 18 years old who have ongoing complex mental health needs. And need intensive support because of mental disability. In your area, the NHS might call their AOT a complex care team (CCT).

You may need the team if you have:

  • a severe long term mental illness that affects you every day,
  • been in hospital many times and have often used crisis services,
  • problems working with mental health services, or

complex needs such as:

  • violent behaviour,
  • serious self harming,
  • not responding to treatment,
  • drug or alcohol use and mental illness; dual diagnosis, or
  • unstable accommodation or are homeless.


The AOT provide intensive support if you have complex needs. The team aim to support you to get help from other services. This support can help you to manage your condition better. And reduce your chances of going back to hospital.

The support you may get from an AOT might be the following.

  • Help with daily living such as shopping, budgeting, cooking and cleaning.
  • Help with your medication.
  • Talking therapies.
  • Help with drug or alcohol use.
  • Support to be involved in community if you are isolated.
  • Help to improve your physical health.
  • Support to find suitable education, employment and training.
  • Support to find and keep your home.
  • Make a plan with you to help you manage your condition. This will look at things that can make you unwell.
  • Make a crisis plan with you. This is a step by step guide of what you need to do if you start to become unwell.
  • Support for your carers or family such as learning about your condition and family behavioural therapy.

AOTs try to have most of their appointments in the community or the home. You can work with your AOT to decide on a place you feel comfortable. All mental health teams should make a care plan for you and review it regularly. AOTs should do the same and review it around every 6 months.

You can find more information about:

  • Drugs, alcohol and mental health,
  • Talking Therapies,
  • Recovery.