stop smokingStaff and service users at mental health hospital for women in Beckton have joined forces to quit smoking as part of a combined physical and mental health programme.

Smoking prevalence is significantly higher in people with mental health problems than among the general population – 70% of service users in the UK are smokers, according to Action on Smoking and Health. Those experiencing psychotic disorders that are in residential facilities are particularly vulnerable.

To combat this, staff and service users at Cygnet Hospital Beckton are working together to quit smoking. ‘Quitting in Mind’ is a new initiative developed by the hospital’s head of occupational therapy, Jennifer Beal, who is running the programme in conjunction with the Newham Stop Smoking Service.

AIMS to quit

The programme is focused on the ‘AIMS’ approach to Ask, Inform, Medicate and Support smoking cessation. Every Monday, staff and service users attend events hosted by the hospital where non-alcoholic cocktails are served to encourage engagement and participation in the programme. Tips are shared between service users and staff and support is provided through group therapy sessions.

While individualised addiction support has always been available at the hospital, Quitting in Mind provides group therapy as well as an opportunity to try out different resources that can help to quit smoking. Resources range from a CO2 monitor to specialist Nicorette products such as the Invisipatch and Inhalator.

One service user said: “This is a fantastic initiative and should be offered in every hospital in England. Group support goes a long way and getting to try out the different products was great fun.

“I liked using the CO2 monitor and am keen to monitor my own progress.”

Beal added: “We firmly believe that adding an element of fun encourages service users to feel positive about the prospect of quitting smoking. Giving up smoking is not easy for anyone, but Quitting in Mind has so far received a lot of positive feedback.”