Earlier this summer, four Aroostook County behavioral health organizations were celebrated through the Gold Star Standards of Excellence program, sponsored by the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breathe Easy initiative.

The Gold Star Standards of Excellence program celebrates the efforts of Maine behavioral health organizations addressing smoking and tobacco use on their campuses. The four celebrated organizations from across the county, and one individual champion, are being recognized for their achievements in advancing campus smoke and tobacco-free policies as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.

County Behavioral Medicine was recognized for meeting the Gold Level and AMHC, The Northern Lighthouse INC and Your Journey LLC were recognized for meeting the silver level in the 2018 Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program for efforts implement policies, procedures and treatment strategies to prohibit smoke and tobacco use on campus and address client tobacco use. All behavioral health organizations in Maine were invited and encouraged to apply for recognition; organizations that met at least six of ten Gold Star 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.

Cody Tompkins from the Northern Lighthouse, INC was recognized for his leadership to advance a tobacco-free policy for his agency that encourages a tobacco-free lifestyle and protects his community and workplace from the harmful effects of second hand smoke.

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

The program is funded by Maine Prevention Services. Maine Prevention Services is an initiative through the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention working across the state to impact tobacco, substance use, and obesity.

Local Tobacco Prevention services are provided by Aroostook County Action Program Community Educators, Dawn Roberts and Jo-Ellen Kelley. If you would like more information about the GSSE or help creating a policy in your area, please reach out to them at 554-4151.

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