The Bracton Centre, our medium secure mental health hospital is taking part in a nationwide challenge to stop smoking. Stoptober, as the name suggests, is taking place this month.
It is called ‘the 28 day challenge' because research shows that if you can stop for this long you are five times more likely to remain smoke free.
Throughout October, Bracton staff are manning a Stoptober stall Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11am to noon in the old reception area near Henri's Social Centre. Bracton residents and staff who want to quit smoking can sign the Stoptober challenge and get lots of information and advice. This will be followed up by support from smoking cessation advisers on each ward.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Curtis Michael said there had already been lots of interest. Curtis explained that the Stoptober challenge dovetails nicely into a plan for a smoke free Bracton Centre by this time next year. The process began on 5 September this year when the campus area (outside space) of the Bracton became non-smoking. Curtis said: "Many of our residents think this is a positive step and feel encouraged to take action to stop smoking. It's going more smoothly than anticipated and there had been few if any infringements of the new rule."
Support worker Kay Wyatt stopped by to become the first person to sign up to the challenge. Also on the stand, Dr Elizabeth Zachariah, Consultant at the Heath Clinic, explained that the smoking cessation drive is being led by the Physical Health Oversight Group at the Bracton. Elizabeth said that as an added incentive, people who sign will be given a T-shirt with one of four designs made by service users. These have been created by using the iron-on technology that was demonstrated at the Annual Members' Meeting in September. As well as being a must have fashion item, it is hoped that by wearing them others will be encouraged to think about stopping smoking.