Dear ServiceNet Staff,
As many of you know April 1st will be the first day of the new smoking policy in our MH residential programs at ServiceNet. We will no longer be allowing clients or staff to smoke anywhere on the property of our MH residential sites, including outdoors. There have been many discussions about this change, here at ServiceNet amongst both staff and clients, and with DMH staff. We have listened to and considered all opinions; however, Mark Keller and I have nonetheless decided to go ahead with the new policy. I would encourage all staff in these programs to try to use this new smoking roadblock as an opportunity to enter into dialogue with your clients about their smoking, and about the supports being offered at ServiceNet to assist them in stopping. I am heartened to hear more and more frequently these days of successes that both staff and clients are having in beating this addiction. I recognize that smoking is an enormous challenge, especially for people with mental health issues, and I applaud and admire those of you who are finding ways to be successful yourselves, and those of you who are finding strategies that motivate your clients. You are choosing a longer and healthier life, for yourselves and/or for your clients.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of our existing policy of not allowing smoking on the grounds or in the parking lots of any of our office buildings, nor on the grounds or in the parking lot of Fit Together. In addition, we have asked staff not to smoke in view of clients--this policy to applies to all staff, including people who work in offices. I am aware that some staff have been smoking in the vicinity of some of our office buildings and clinics, in view of clients who visit those offices. I would respectfully request that office staff who smoke outside go far enough away from any office building so they cannot be seen from our property.
In addition, I have noticed people smoking on sidewalks near our offices and other sites, sometimes in front of neighbors' homes or nearby places of business, which I believe reflects badly on ServiceNet. Now that we are banning smoking on the grounds of the MH residences, I am concerned that this problem will be multiplied, with staff and/or clients from those programs smoking near the residences. Therefore I would respectfully request that staff and clients who will be smoking off-grounds, as well as office staff smoking off-site, please try not to smoke while standing in front of anyone's home or place of business.
I am aware that these policies do and will cause inconvenience to many in the ServiceNet community; just remember that smoking can cause more than just inconvenience--as you know, it can cost you your very life. I value the lives of everyone in the ServiceNet community, and it is my hope that these policies and changes will push more in our community to take on the challenge of quitting! I invite and encourage all of you to share with me any ideas you have for ways that ServiceNet can further support both staff and clients in giving up smoking.