Authors: Sharon Lawn, Lyndy Abram, SA
Event: 2002 TheMHS Conference
Subject: book of proceedings Brief Papers: Focus on Partnerships, Recovery & Rehabilitation, SMOKING, TOBACCO
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Mental health service clients who have sought advice to quit smoking have not felt that they have been well served by telephone quit services. Likewise, Quitline workers have, in the past, felt less than confident or skilled to assist such callers. This is despite one in five callers to the Quitline indicating that they have mental health problems. In 2000-2001, a series of ten quit smoking groups were held for smokers with concurrent mental illness as part of a project funded by the Department of Human Services / Tobacco Control Unit/ Quit SA. The facilitation of these community-based groups involved partnerships between quit workers, community mental health service staff and mental health service consumer peer workers who had successfully quit smoking. Using grounded theory methodology, this paper reports on the insights and skills gained by the Quitline workers as a result of being involved in these groups. They overwhelmingly reported that they learnt much about mental illness and gained greater confidence in this area and that their ongoing work with smokers with concurrent mental illness has been more rewarding and effective as a consequence of being involved in this project. The project is an example of highly effective partnerships between agencies, leading to improved service provision to people with mental illness. Such partnerships are seen as essential given the insidious problem of very high rates of smoking by people with mental illness and their access to Quitline services presenting as a significant barrier to their quitting in the past.