The MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breathe Easy initiative held its inaugural Behavioral Health Gold Star Standards of Excellence Awards ceremony Wednesday, June 7, to celebrate the efforts of Maine behavioral health organizations that are working to address smoking and tobacco use on their campuses. Ten organizations from across the state and two individual champions were recognized for achievements in advancing their campus smoke- and tobacco-free policies, as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.

The 2017 awardees include: at the Gold level, meeting all 10 standards: Community Health and Counseling Services, County Behavioral Medicine, Evergreen Behavioral Health, Maine Behavioral Healthcare – Rockland, NFI North Inc., and Tri-County Mental Health Services. Awardees at the Silver level, meeting eight or nine of the standards, included: Aroostook Mental Health Center, Kennebec Behavioral Health, Mid Coast Hospital Addiction Resource Center, and Paramount Behavioral Services Inc. Two Individual Gold Star champions were also recognized: Linda Christie, prevention specialist at Mid Coast Hospital, and Catherine Ryder, executive director at Tri-County Mental Health Services.

The annual Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program recognizes behavioral health organizations for their efforts to address smoking and tobacco use on campus and incorporate tobacco treatment into treatment plans when appropriate. All Maine behavioral health organizations were encouraged to apply for recognition; participating organizations that met at least six of 10 standards were recognized with a plaque. Award levels are based on best-practice criteria such as a smoke- and tobacco-free campus policy, annual screening for tobacco use, referral to tobacco treatment and supporting employee education related to tobacco treatment.

For more information about the Tobacco-Free Behavioral Health initiative and Gold Star Standards of Excellence recognition program, visit BreatheEasyMaine.org/BehavioralHealth.