Who is Neami National?
Neami is a community-based organisation that provides services to improve mental health and wellbeing in local communities. They have been supporting over 9,000 Australians each year in their recovery to improve mental health and wellbeing, and they have been committed to this mission for over 30 years.
How will this project help you achieve your mission and vision?
Neami’s mission is to improve mental health and wellbeing in local communities. As part of this commitment, Neami recognises the importance of addressing tobacco as part of a comprehensive approach to improve the health and wellbeing of their consumers.
It is well known that smoking rates are higher among people living with a mental illness than the general population. We also know that smoking prevalence tends to increase alongside the severity of the psychiatric condition. Tobacco use contributes to financial disadvantage and poorer health outcomes; with those who smoke being far more likely to die from a smoking related disease than as a result of their psychiatric condition . Smoking also increases a person’s risk of experiencing high levels of psychological distress and the likelihood of being diagnosed or treated for a mental health condition .
Australian research shows that 59-70% of people, regardless of their circumstances, want to reduce and/or quit smoking. People living with a mental illness are as motivated to quit as the general population, and despite lower overall success rates, can quit successfully. However, the main problem is that few receive best practice smoking cessation support.
The most effective way to quit smoking, is a combination of behavioural interventions (either in person or via telephone), and stop smoking medications (nicotine replacement therapy and/or medication).
This project is important to help break the cycle of disadvantage that is exacerbated by tobacco use through supporting Neami consumers to reduce and quit their tobacco use and improve their journey of recovery.
What difference will this project make for:
• People accessing Neami services?
Neami has been addressing smoking as part of their service for some time. However, being part of this project has meant that people accessing Neami services are routinely asked about their smoking behaviour and are offered information and support to reduce and quit.
Support groups are facilitated as part of the services group programs to discuss smoking behaviours and help motivate people. We know that the majority of consumers want to reduce and quit their smoking; they just need the support to make a positive change.
• Neami Staff?
A key strategy of this project, has involved staff receiving training by Cancer Council WA so they are equipped to support people accessing services at Neami to reduce and quit smoking. This training will be embedded in staff’s induction, as well as offered as part of ongoing professional development. Neami is proud to promote healthy smoke-free environments for staff and consumers with no smoking permitted at Neami sites. We are currently working towards displaying positive smoke-free signage around all sites.
Greatest learnings and achievements?
Neami is a large organisation, providing a variety of services across a number of sites. Ensuring all sites were aware of the commitment to address tobacco and the various project strategies was a big task. The commitment from the Health Promotion Officer was fundamental in ensuring all sites were on board from the beginning and they shared the committed to address tobacco with every consumer in a healthy smoke-free environment.
Embedding tobacco into the routine processes and procedures of Neami services ensures consistency and sustainability. Joondalup Step Up Step Down service was a great example of how under the guidance of management, changes can easily be made which make addressing tobacco part of the ongoing routine care.
Click on each of the priority areas below to find out what Neami is achieving.