People experiencing mental illness

Many people with a mental illness want to quit smoking.

ACOSH is busting the myth surrounding people experiencing a mental illness and smoking.

People experiencing mental illness smoke for the same reasons as smokers in the rest of the population. However,  smoking rates among people living with a mental illness are much higher than the general population, with about one in three reporting that they smoke.

Though the rates are high, many people with a mental illness want to quit smoking and can. An important factor to their success is having the right support from family, friends and health professionals. In order to make this a reality, more specific smoking cessation programs are needed. ACOSH advocates for changes in health policy to make this a reality.

ACOSH is working to raise awareness of the issues around smoking and mental health and continues to advocate for the recognition of the importance of addressing this. Our strategy includes the development of a training package for those working in mental health care.

To address the current ‘myths’ regarding smoking and mental illness, ACOSH and the Mental Illness Fellowship Western Australia (MIFWA) produced a smoking and mental illness myth busting resource that was launched during the World No Tobacco Week 2014  and was distributed widely. This has been very popular throughout Australia.

MIFWA is dedicated to providing information and a comprehensive and integrated range of support services to people with mental illness as well as their carers, families and friends. Another agency leading in this area is  Richmond Wellbeing WA  who strive to support individuals with mental health issues and support them on their ‘recovery’ journey.

Cancer Council WA’s Make Smoking History team is partnering with community service organisations to improve staff and at-risk group’s access to information and support to cut down and quit using tobacco. The Make Smoking History for Community Services is a free program that takes an organisation-wide approach to addressing tobacco smoking. The program team works with your organisation to tailor a program for your service and client group. For more information contact makesmokinghistory@cancerwa.asn.au or for more information about supporting at-risk groups to cut down and quit see: http://makesmokinghistory.org.au/communityservices/ 

The stats

32%

of people experiencing mental illness smoke and this figure increases significantly for people experiencing severe mental illness such as schizophrenia

Source: National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results 2007