Smoking cessation support

Objective 3.4:

Improve the physical health of people experiencing mental illness

Action 3.4.2:

Encourage mental health services to develop a health promotion and prevention action plan, utilising the Equally Well Consensus Statement

People living with severe mental illness are estimated to live around twenty-five years less-than other Australians, secondary to poor physical health – of which nicotine dependence is a factor. Furthermore, people living with a severe mental illness tend to experience greater difficulty in trying to quit smoking when compared with other population groups, with some studies noting greater challenges in managing nicotine withdrawal.  People living with severe mental illness are often are motivated to quit, but their attempts are less successful due to these challenges.

In response, Metro North Mental Health have set targets for smoking cessation in a bid to support consumers toward quitting. Metro North Mental Health has appointed a Smoking Cessation Project Officer, whose role it is to monitor and support mental health clinicians to engage consumers around their use of tobacco and/or tobacco-related products.  The Project Officer supports clinicians to note the consumer’s smoking status and completion of the smoking cessation clinical pathway in the clinical record.

The Project Officer also works alongside the Dual Diagnosis Coordinators to provide training and support to clinicians on smoking cessation interventions along with consultation on smoking cessation policies and procedures. Both the Smoking Cessation Project Officer as the Dual Diagnosis Coordinators provide education and interventions to consumers wanting to quit – via both group and one on one consultation inpatient and community settings. The Smoking Cessation Project Officer chairs the monthly smoking cessation champions meeting and represents Metro North Mental Health at other relevant forums. These resources also facilitate smoking cessation promotion at community events, such as hosting stalls across Metro North Mental Health for World No Tobacco Day.

Key achievements

  • Metro North Mental Health continues to meet all smoking cessation targets.
  • The establishment of a smoking cessation (team and ward-based) champions network and a weekly smoking information group on every inpatient ward.
  • Metro North Mental Health has purchased additional smokerlyzers and supports a variety of nicotine-replacement-therapy (NRT) options available on inpatient wards (gum, patches, mist, inhalators and lozenges).
  • NRT lozenges are now also available to the community mental health teams and a community-based Kick Butts group program is routinely run every six months in each catchment area, which also includes the provision of NRT for participants.
  • In late 2019, a consumer experience video was produced in which three Kick Butts participants were interviewed regarding their experience in the group and were able to provide overwhelmingly positive feedback about their experience.

Key learnings

Collaboration across the Smoking Cessation Project Officer, the Dual Diagnosis Coordinators and the team-based champions has been identified as a key strength in supporting and maintaining Metro North Mental Health’s commitment to smoking cessation and the physical health outcomes on consumers.

What’s next?

Future planning is paramount in ensuring services respond to need and allow for continual quality improvement. The Smoking Cessation Project Officer and Dual Diagnosis Coordinators have identified key goals to further smoking cessation promotion including environmental improvements, educational efforts and NRT maximisation. The following plans are under consideration:

  • Reclaiming the outdoor spaces at Redcliffe, Caboolture and The Prince Charles Hospitals (TPCH) (eg the sensory verandas at RBWH)
  • Introducing Smokerlyzers on the wards
  • Inhalators as a permanent option for fast acting NRT
  • Further education to doctors for prescribing and management of NRT
  • Continued awareness of targets – standing agenda item at appropriate meetings
  • New/easy to use NRT charts at RBWH and TPCH
  • Research on contingency management in Kick Butts Groups.

Get involved

If you would like to know more about Planning for Wellbeing, or if you’re interested in getting involved, please drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you.