Physical health, wellbeing and AOD
Trialling a new approach to supporting people to reduce or quit smoking.
Who is involved
Neami National, University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute
There is extensive research demonstrating that smoking contributes to significant health, economic, and social disadvantage. However, despite thirty plus years of increases in tobacco tax levies and public health messaging around tobacco-related harm; smoking rates for people living with mental health difficulties have not been impacted in the same way it has for the general Australian population.
In partnership with leading epidemiological researchers from the University of Western Australia, Neami National trialled a new approach to support people living with mental illness to reduce or quit smoking. The program combined knowledge about best practice in smoking cessation and feedback about the successes and failures from other smoking programs delivered in a mental health service context.
The trial program, labelled ‘Kick the Habit’, utilised a change management method (directly informed by consumer experiences gathered in an earlier phase of the project) to address practitioner (support worker) assumptions, attitudes, knowledge and confidence to undertake conversations with mental health consumers about their smoking behaviours. Secondly, the Kick the Habit program included one on one coaching support with consumers who smoke to develop individualised smoking management plans based on a person’s own goals and reasons for reducing or quitting. In addition, consumers were supported to use NRT to minimise symptoms associated with nicotine withdrawal and reduce contraindication of mental health symptoms.
The aim of the trial was to compare results from people who have engaged in the Kick the Habit program (trial condition) as part of their support from Neami, against results from people who have received their usual support at Neami (control condition) and have not engaged in the Kick the Habit program. The trial ran from October 2016 until January 2018 and showed positive results for consumers participating in KTH with many reducing their tobacco use.
Since the completion of the project the research team from the Telethon Kids Institute, at the University of Western Australia, have produced a report to describe the process and outcomes of the trial. Neami National have produced a report on the consumer and staff experience of taking part in the trial. Both can be downloaded below.