Tailoring tobacco cessation to patients living with mental illness

smoking cessation
Dr. Bruce Christiansen

A new effort funded by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is enabling the creation of online training materials for behavioral health specialists to help people living with mental illness quit smoking. 

The project, led by Bruce Christiansen, PhD, senior scientist, General Internal Medicine and UW Center for Tobacco Research (UW CTRI), gives practical guidance for mental health care providers. 

The smoking prevalence among those with a serious mental illness is approximately 40 percent — much higher than in the general public (13.9 percent). 

Dr. Christiansen calls the tailored intervention strategy the Bucket Approach. 

“Behavioral health practitioners are busy people, so the Bucket Approach is concrete, easy to visualize, and brief to implement," he said.