The change to a smoke-free facility was initiated to support the physical health of hospitalized individuals. Therapeutic alternatives will be offered to mitigate withdrawal symptoms and to encourage smoking cessation.
The Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) is a short-term mental health hospital for adults in psychiatric crisis who are at risk of harming themselves or others. Individuals in this facility have serious mental health needs. Providing a healthy environment is a top priority for program administrators.
Research has consistently shown higher prevalence of tobacco use among individuals with behavioral health conditions. People with psychiatric disorders smoke nearly half of all cigarettes produced, but they are half as likely to quit as other smokers. More than 44% of US adults with serious mental illness are smokers. This population correspondingly experiences higher rates of disease and premature death, and a reduced quality of life.
In planning this policy change Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services collaborated with the County Public Health Department Tobacco Prevention Settlement Program. Together they created policies, signs, materials and training that will support success with the transition to a smoke-free environment.
PHF Medical Director Dr. Leslie Lundt, MD, who initiated the policy change explained, “We are pleased to create a smoke-free facility that supports the health and well-being of our PHF clients, as well as their families and friends who visit, and our staff. Our facility joins a growing number of behavioral health treatment settings that are addressing nicotine dependence among their clients.”