Behavioral Health Partnership Supports Quitline Sustainability
Since 2014, Well-Ahead Louisiana and the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) have partnered to take steps in addressing tobacco use in the behavioral health population. In order to enhance data collection of smokers with behavioral health conditions, the Louisiana Quitline began asking callers if they suffered from any mental illnesses, such as an anxiety disorder, depression disorder, bipolar disorder, alcohol/drug abuse, or schizophrenia. The data from the July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016 showed 42.7% of callers to the Louisiana Quitline have at least one mental health or substance use disorder.
With partners from the Louisiana Tobacco Coalition, Well-Ahead developed a partnership plan that focuses on enhancing referrals to, funding for, and reimbursement of Louisiana Quitline services. As part of this plan, our team prepared a funding proposal for OBH that included the data of Quitline callers who indicated they suffered from any mental illness. With 42.7% of callers reporting at least one behavioral health condition, the program was able to equate the cost of services to the population and request a reasonable amount of OBH’s tobacco tax funding to support the Quitline. The proposal was accepted and the state’s Quitline services were sustained without a break in coverage. A memorandum of understanding between the two agencies has been developed so that the Louisiana Quitline can be sustained through this partnership in following years.
Through leveraging statewide partnerships, Well-Ahead and OBH aligned program priorities to sustain Quitline resources and cessation services to Louisiana residents. Increasing the availability and accessibility of the Quitline ensures that a basic level of quitline service is in place to support national and state interventions likely to increase interest in quitting and calls to the quitline. This collaborative work between agencies can aid in fostering other opportunities to increase promotion and expand the level of service among populations affected by tobacco-related disparities.
Did You Know?
- Persons living with mental illness or a substance use disorder account for 25% of the adult population, but they consumed 40% of cigarettes sold in the United States.
- Nationally, more than 1 in 3 adults (36 %) with a mental illness smoke cigarettes, compared to about 1 in 5 adults (21%) with no mental illness.
- Persons with a mental or substance use disorder die, on average, 5 years prematurely than persons without these disorders; many of these deaths are caused by smoking cigarettes.
Moving Louisiana’s Health Forward
One way to support community level changes for persons living with mental health and substance use disorders is to make changes in the way we look at smoking in the behavioral health population. The best ways to respond are to adopt, implement, and enforce tobacco-free policies. It is also helpful to revisit and or include processes to treat tobacco dependence. These processes can include integrating screening for tobacco use and using combination therapy to treat tobacco dependence (ex. pharmacotherapy and brief behavioral interventions).
Are you passionate about tobacco prevention and cessation? Partner with us to move Louisiana’s health forward! Email email@example.com to learn more. Together, we can move Louisiana’s health forward!