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National Council Launches Initiative to Support Sustainability of Tobacco and Cancer Control Efforts in Behavioral Health Settings

June 14, 2018

Joy Burwell
(202) 748-8789

WASHINGTON, D.C.—  Thirteen organizations across 10 states and one territory, serving thousands of individuals with mental health and substance use disorders, have rejoined the National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco and Cancer Control (NBHN) as alumni to amplify national efforts to eliminate smoking and cancer-related disparities.

“We are excited to welcome back 13 organizations who have implemented tobacco cessation and tobacco-free policies in their behavioral health settings over the last five years. These organizations support systems-level changes at community behavioral health organizations to eliminate smoking and cancer-related disparities.” said Tom Hill, Vice President for Practice Improvement at the National Council. “Bringing them together provides the opportunity to share best practices around what has worked inside a clinic’s wall, and double down on sustainability for the future for others in the field.”

Approximately 36 percent of individuals with mental health and substance use disorders smoke—more than double the rate of the general population —and are more likely to die from smoking-related cancers than any other cause. Led by the National Council for Behavioral Health in partnership with the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, Behavioral Health and Wellness Program WP, and Strategic Management Services, with generous support provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention these organizations will participate in a four-month virtual class that includes webinars, affinity group calls, one-on-one coaching from expert national faculty, and peer sharing and mentoring opportunities.

The growing list of NBHN alumni include partners like Pittsburgh Mercy Health System that worked to adopt a tobacco-free campus policy across more than 60 sites, impacting the lives of 30,000 clients annually. Way Station Inc., successfully made the transition to a tobacco-free campus as well. Collette Woolf, Deputy Chief of Organization Systems Integration at the behavioral health organization in Frederick, Maryland, credits NBHN’s team-based approach to developing a wellness plan and drafting a comprehensive tobacco-free policy as the catalyst that drew a commitment from senior leadership.

The participants include:

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Want to learn how your organization, state, tribe or territory can enhance tobacco and cancer control and prevention efforts among individuals with mental and substance use disorders? Join the National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco & Cancer Control and gain free access to tobacco and cancer control and prevention toolkits, workforce development and training and other information you need to eliminate tobacco and cancer disparities for the clients you serve.


The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 2,900 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and more than 1 million Americans have been trained.

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