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In Kentucky, Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs) focus on care for people living with severe mental illnesses (SMI) through the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) programs. ACT teams are charged by the State to provide wrap-around services for individuals with SMIs. It is estimated that 70-80% of those with SMI are tobacco users, however, tobacco use is undertreated in this population. Research has shown that few behavioral health clinicians routinely adopt tobacco treatment strategies. In our prior research among people with SMI within inpatient psychiatric settings, we found that mental health care providers lack the appropriate training and confidence in providing tobacco treatment (Okoli, Otachi & Seng, 2019). Moreover, the delivery of tobacco treatment is perceived as a non-normative behavior among these providers (Okoli, Otachi, Kaewbua, Woods, & Robertson, 2017). Enhancing evidence-based tobacco treatment in ACT programs is critical to addressing the tobacco use disparity and related burden in people with SMI.

To understand the gaps and needs for treatment in this population, we completed the administration of (1) a survey to examine ACT team providers’ intentions to provide tobacco treatment, and (2) a survey to examine ACT team consumers’ intentions to engage in tobacco treatment. The sample for this study was providers and consumers from 4 CMHCs in Kentucky.

Providers Survey

The BH WELL team invited ACT team providers to complete the health provider survey. Providers were purposively recruited from the participating ACT teams with the goal of obtaining a representation of different types of behavioral healthcare providers (i.e., prescribers [nurse practitioners, physicians/psychiatrists, and Physician Assistants], social workers, nurses, and psychologists/counselors).

We received 50 responses from health providers at the 4 targeted CMHCs. The survey was open from December 1, 2021, through February 28, 2022. 

Consumers Survey

In the spring of 2022, BH WELL trained ten ACT team providers on the ethical conduct of research and human subjects protection, as required by the University of Kentucky’s Institutional Review Board. Once the training was complete and they had passed the post-training exam, the providers joined the BH WELL research team and were able to administer surveys to ACT team consumers.

The ACT consumer surveys were conducted in person or over the phone. Data collection closed in June 2022. All participants who completed the survey were provided compensation of a $50.00 gift card. The research team collected a total of 42 consumer surveys.

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