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Aishwarya Rajagopalan

Health Policy Intern

Will You #BhTheChange?

July 9, 2014 | Tobacco and Smoking | Comments
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What do social media, the National Council, and tobacco cessation efforts have in common?

Nearly half of all deaths among people with behavioral health conditions are due to tobacco related causes. While nationwide prevalence of smoking continues to decrease (current rates stand at 18.1%), the smoking rate for people with behavioral health conditions ranges anywhere from 40% (major depressive disorder) to 98% (substance use disorders). Similarly, this population is nearly 2.6 times more likely to develop cancer than the general population, primarily due to irregular screening and delays in treatment.

The CDC-funded National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco & Cancer Control, run by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, focuses on addressing and reducing tobacco and cancer related disparities in the behavioral health population. We not only want to shed light on these disparities for behavioral health providers and their clients, but for professionals and advocates around the country.

Our new hashtag, #BhTheChange, encourages consumers, clinicians, advocates, and other stakeholders to join a conversation about how each and every one of us can “be the change” in behavioral health: helping this population achieve positive long term health outcomes, eliminating health disparities, achieving health equity among our population, building strong and healthy communities and creating systems that promote tobacco and cancer prevention and control among people with behavioral health conditions.

We encourage you to take these steps to spread awareness of the tobacco and cancer related health disparities among this population:

  • Share and retweet our posts on Facebook and Twitter!
  • Join the conversation- add your comments to our posts and use the hashtag when you post on social media sites
  • Check out our website and join the network.  When you sign up, you will get access to the Network Insider, a bi-weekly e-newsletter that has the latest and greatest in resources, data, news, and lessons from the field, and you’ll receive Network updates, upcoming events, and more.