Substance Use Research Event (SURE 2021) Abstract - Janet Otachi

Title: Enhancing Evidence Based Tobacco Treatment in Community Mental Health Centers

Authors: Janet Otachi1 and Chizimuzo Okoli2

1 University of Kentucky College of Social Work

2 University of Kentucky College of Nursing

Purpose: Compared to the US general population, people with mental illnesses (MI) experience disparate rates of tobacco use and related burden due to gaps in tobacco treatment provision. Despite the existence of clinical guidelines for treating tobacco dependence, few providers in behavioral health settings deliver tobacco treatment. Though opportunities exist for enhancing tobacco-free environments and evidence-based tobacco treatment in behavioral health settings, few facilities in the US adopt such policies. Understanding factors that promote or hinder the delivery of evidence-based tobacco treatment in behavioral health settings is critical in guiding the development of tailored interventions to address tobacco use disparity and related burden in this vulnerable population. 

Methods: We administered an electronic survey to 14 community mental health centers (CMHCs) in Kentucky, to assess their existing tobacco control practices and capacity for evidence-based tobacco treatment. 

Results: 159 facilities from the 14 CMHCs responded to the survey. Though most facilities reported having a written policy restricting tobacco use (82.4%), few policies highlighted the impact of tobacco use on physical (18.2%) and mental health (8.8%). Though most facility providers asked their clients about tobacco use, fewer advised, assessed, assisted or arranged for tobacco treatment services.  

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that opportunities exist for supporting tobacco control policies and treatment practices in Kentucky CMHCs. With adequate support from behavioral health providers, tobacco users with MI are capable of successfully quitting their tobacco use. Therefore, opportunities for increasing provider delivery of evidence-based tobacco treatment in behavioral health settings should be encouraged and utilized.