Authors: Stella Vickers
Event: 2016 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Attitudes, stigma, discrimination, communities, research & evaluation informing practice, university of otago wellington new zealand, nz
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: People experiencing mental illness have higher tobacco smoking rates than the overall population.¹ There is increased attention to reducing the harm from tobacco to this group.
There is a strong call in the “tobacco control” field to consider people in their social and environmental contexts, and not just as individuals.² The unequal rates of smoking among different groups in society challenges the notion that smoking should be considered from an individual perspective.
I will present findings from my PhD project on smoking in the social contexts of people experiencing mental illness in New Zealand. I carried out an interview study with people using community-based services. We talked about their smoking, and we mapped out their close social networks as well as the broader context of their smoking. Initial findings suggest the daily experiences of coping with a mental illness, society’s disapproval of smoking, and the person’s social position and integration are salient parts of the picture (study still in progress at the time of writing this abstract). I will conclude with how this work may extend thinking about ways to support reduced tobacco use by people with mental illness.