The first year of the project is behind us and we have started to stop smoking for people with mental health and substance abuse problems all over Finland. In the hospital districts involved, a change has taken place, among others. in that the smoking of a mental patient is recorded and a nicotine addiction test is given and guidance is given to quit smoking.
There are individual differences in the intensity of nicotine addiction among smokers, but for many, the addictiveness of nicotine comes as a surprise. Closing is not a matter of course, and it may not be possible without support, such as nicotine replacement therapy and / or peer support. With the project, the perception that mental health and substance abuse people also want to quit smoking has strengthened. The diversity of addiction has also surprised the medical staff and training has focused on the nature of addiction and the fact that cessation can be really challenging.
Regional smoke-free working groups have been considering ways to stop smoking for mentally ill patients who could be introduced in their hospital. Named regional workers act as change agents and Filha supports them in this work.
New forms of training are being tested. At the end of last year, the first joint day was held in Pori for patients and staff to share information and discuss smoking cessation and reduction. Reducing is a good start in itself as regards smoking.
The second year of operation of the MITU project started in early January with regional training rounds. About 550 health professionals have been trained so far. In March, an online course is being introduced alongside traditional training, which is used nationwide for all healthcare professionals. The course can be completed on your own schedule.
The MITU project has developed a model of training on peer-to-peer smoking practices. Nearly 100 trainers have been trained and training continues. The task of smoke-free swimmers is to work alongside a health care professional to support a mentally ill and intoxicant patient to smoke-free.