Although smoking rates among the general population continue to fall, they have remained disproportionately high among people with lived experience of mental health challenges.
Mental Health Ireland, the HSE Tobacco Free Ireland Programme and people with lived experience of mental health challenges have been working together to identify innovative ways to tackle this growing health inequality.
The consensus is that this requires a social movement across the whole system. This will hardwire the voice and experience of people with mental health challenges and their supporters into a common endeavour; to assist people attending mental health services in living a smoke free life.
the partners adopted a co-production approach as a way to address this. In July 2019, they hosted the first National Conversation Café: Smoking, Mental Health and Recovery in order to have an open, honest and direct conversation where all perspectives on this issue were articulated and recorded.
More than 70 stakeholders from lived experience of mental health challenges, services providers, supporters, smokers and ex-smokers came together on an equal footing, in the spirit of co-production, to tell the story of how things are now in terms of smoking and mental health and to contribute to a solution-focused plan for the future.