A monthly newsletter from Integral Care.


A Message From Our CEO


Did you know that about 36.5 million Americans smoke cigarettes? Tobacco use is the single largest, preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. According to the World Health Organization , tobacco use is also associated with depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and can lead to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. E very year, smoking kills about 200,000 people who live with mental illness.


As a way to bring awareness to smoking-related health risks and support individuals who want to become smoke-free, smokers across the country take part in the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout each November. On November 16th, many smokers will kick start their goal of quitting smoking. Even if you don’t smoke, you can encourage someone to quit smoking and help them take steps toward reducing their risk of cancer and leading healthier lives.


Integral Care believes in Healthy Living for Everyone and supports our clients and employees in quitting tobacco. Over the last several years, we have supported 22 local mental health authorities in their efforts to become tobacco-free through a project called Taking Texas Tobacco Free. The mission of this project is to promote wellness by reducing tobacco use and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke among employees, clients and visitors.


In September of this year, Integral Care and the University of Houston were awarded a 3-year, $1.3 million grant through the  Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to help 18 substance use disorder treatment centers in Texas implement a sustainable, multi-component, tobacco-free workplace program. The grant is part of the Taking Texas Tobacco Free project and builds on two other successful CPRIT-funded grant projects with Integral Care and the University of Houston.


People living with mental illness use tobacco products at a much higher rate than the general public, contributing to the risk of chronic disease, and leading to worse health outcomes and higher mortality rates. Integral Care is proud to lead the efforts to reduce tobacco use across Texas among the populations we serve.


Learn how Integral Care is promoting wellness through our services and the Taking Texas Tobacco Free project in our Program and Partner Highlight sections. Our goal is to help clients make lifestyle changes that will improve their health and well-being.


David Evans

Chief Executive Officer

Program Highlight

Wellness Services


Integral Care takes a whole health approach to care. Each of our clinics offers wellness services to people living with mental illness who also have long-term health problems like diabetes and obesity. Did you know that people with serious mental illness die 25 years sooner than the rest of the population? This is not from mental illness but from preventable and manageable chronic diseases. Integral Care’s Wellness Team helps address this profound disparity in life expectancy for those with serious mental illness through our wellness services, including tobacco cessation, nutrition and exercise.


Our Wellness Team helps clients make lifestyle changes that will improve their health and well-being. We promote recovery through person-centered care and a collaborative partnership led by our clients. That means we work closely with our clients to create a care plan that best fits their needs.


  • Clients who want to quit smoking are connected to tobacco cessation specialists who provide support and access to free nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum.
  • Clients who want to focus on nutrition goals work with a registered dietitian who helps with grocery shopping, reading food labels, shopping economically and preparing healthy meals.
  • Clients who want to increase their physical activity to reduce their blood pressure or BMI partner with a wellness specialist who will create a customized exercise program and accompany them to the YMCA.


We’ve seen great results with the program. One client experienced anxiety in crowds, which made it difficult to go to the gym and be active. Thanks to our wellness services, he has learned to control his anxiety, is more active and has made positive strides towards a healthier lifestyle.

Partner Highlight

University of Houston


For over four years, Integral Care and the University of Houston have worked together to support hundreds of mental health clinics across Texas in becoming tobacco-free as part of the Taking Texas Tobacco Free project.


Together, we’ve provided employee education, clinical assessment and intervention training, consultation, policy assistance, treatment resources and practical guidance to support the program. Some outcomes of our joint efforts include:


  • Tobacco treatment, education and training for over 5,000 staff­ members in Texas
  • Over 15,000 individual boxes of nicotine patches and gum delivered for free distribution to clients and employees
  • 2-day tobacco dependence trainings for approximately 100 prescribers and clinical sta­ff
  • Coordination of Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist (CTTS) training for over 50 clinical sta­ff
  • Motivational Interviewing training to enhance tobacco users’ readiness to quit to hundreds of clinicians
  • Educational resource materials for mental and behavioral health clients and community agencies about tobacco cessation resources and tobacco-free policy implementation


Thank you to Dr. Ezemenari Obasi, Dr. Virmarie Correa-Fernandez, Dr. Dan O’Connor, Iman Garrett-Price and the many graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Houston for their support of Taking Texas Tobacco Free.


This important partnership between Integral Care and the University of Houston is a true community-academic collaboration that has improved the health and well-being of our state.


November : Healthy Lifestyles Improve Well-Being

October : National Child Health Day

September : Strengthening Families and Communities