HEALTH MAT­TERS

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

●● WITH Dr Paul Bowen, a GP with McIlvride Med­i­cal Prac­tice, Poyn­ton, and ex­ec­u­tive chair of NHS Eastern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group (CCG). THE vast ma­jor­ity of us now ac­cept that quit­ting smok­ing is good for our phys­i­cal health.

How­ever, fewer peo­ple are aware that stop­ping smok­ing is hugely ben­e­fi­cial for our men­tal health too.

There is the mis­taken belief among many smok­ers that smok­ing helps re­lieve stress and anx­i­ety, when in fact the op­po­site is true, and smok­ers are ac­tu­ally more likely to de­velop de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety than non-smok­ers.

More­over, the psy­cho­log­i­cal ben­e­fits of stop­ping smok­ing are strik­ing in peo­ple who al­ready have a men­tal health dis­or­der, as quit­ting can help men­tal health symp­toms and lead to a re­duced need for anti-psy­chotic medicine.

This is welcome news, as peo­ple with di­ag­nosed men­tal health prob­lems, in­clud­ing anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion or schizophre­nia, are nearly three times more likely to take up smok­ing, and also tend to smoke more heav­ily than the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion.

Fur­ther­more, it’s es­ti­mated that 30 per cent of all smok­ers have a men­tal health prob­lem and that two of ev­ery five cig­a­rettes smoked in Eng­land are smoked by peo­ple with a men­tal health con­di­tion.

This is why NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG has pledged to re­duce the num­ber of peo­ple with se­vere men­tal ill­ness who are smok­ers by 30pc, as out­lined in our new prospec­tus.

It can be viewed at east­erncheshireccg.nhs. uk/Publi­ca­tions/ other-publi­ca­tions.htm.

We aim to achieve this am­bi­tious tar­get through close work­ing with our GP mem­ber prac­tices and our part­ners, in­clud­ing Cheshire and Wir­ral Part­ner­ship NHS Foun­da­tion Trust (CWP) and Kick­start.

CWP pro­vides men­tal health, learn­ing dis­abil­ity and drug and al­co­hol ser­vices, with many of its ser­vices com­mis­sioned by the CCG, while Kick­start is a stop-smok­ing ser­vice com­mis­sioned by Cheshire East Coun­cil’s public health team.

As a CCG, we are cur­rently gath­er­ing data from ev­ery GP prac­tice in eastern Cheshire to iden­tify how many peo­ple with a se­ri­ous men­tal ill­ness also con­sider them­selves to be smok­ers.

This data will be pro­vided to CWP, which can then sup­port these pa­tients to stop smok­ing through nico­tine re­place­ment ther­apy, cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­apy, ex­tra gym ses­sions and in-depth aware­ness ses­sions.

In ad­di­tion, CWP was the first men­tal health trust in the coun­try to go com­pletely smoke free, pro­vid­ing high lev­els of sup­port to peo­ple when they are in hos­pi­tal.

CWP is also work­ing with Kick­start to pro­vide spe­cial­ist stop-smok­ing sup­port for peo­ple with men­tal health con­di­tions, both in the com­mu­nity and in acute and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive care.

For more in­for­ma­tion, email karolina.ay­ers@ nhs.net.

●● Dr Paul Bowen

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