A 2015 Tobacco & Cancer Control Community of Practice (CoP) member, Way Station Outpatient Mental Health Clinic went Tobacco-Free in May of 2016. Way Station is a behavioral health organization that provides a broad range of services to four different counties in Maryland. Four months after they implemented their Tobacco Free Policy, Way Station has some important tips and lessons to share with other behavioral health organizations who are looking to go tobacco free.
In preparation for their “Tobacco Free day”, May 1st, 2016 they took a few actions:
- They created signs with a “Breathe Easy” logo to prepare the residents for the Tobacco-Free policy
- Each of their locations hosted a “Fresh Air Fair” where partners and local organizations hosted tables to disseminate health and wellness information and interactive activities.
- When the time came, they celebrated “Tobacco Free Day” and everyone wore bright green shirts and participated in a group photo challenge.
TIPS & LESSONS LEARNED:
“We gave ourselves over a year to get there… I would not recommend that long of a time period between making the commitment and implementation. The hardest part was the anxiety about what’s going to happen.”
“You may get your greatest pushback several months after you’ve gone live”
“it evolved to be more of a bottom-up process… the people who were really taking ownership of the planning, messaging, and events were the people who were working in these commercial buildings. That was what made it such a positive experience for all of our facilities.”