Did you know that, on average, people living with serious mental illness live about twenty five to thirty years less than the general population? A main reason for this is that they are two to three times more likely to smoke. They are more likely to be overweight, have heart problems and high blood pressure, develop cancer and have less money to pay for necessities. Each of these leads to a decline in length and quality of life. The odds are stacked against them.
For half my life I smoked a pack a day, and I can now see that it was holding me back from being my best, from contributing to the world. In addition to my illness I was really down, withdrawn and alone. I had high blood pressure and generally poor health, with low energy and little motivation. I spent what little money I had on smokes. Whenever I tried to quit I just couldn’t do it.
To lend a helping hand to Sharon and others like her trying to improve their odds, CMHA Toronto has piloted the Smoke Stoppers program. We supply participants with their choice of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (Gum, Lozenges, Inhaler or Patch), attend 10 weekly group sessions and, following a 12 week aftercare program, we continue to monitor them. We screen participants for breast, cervical and
colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Our Smoke Stoppers program is thorough, scientific and, most importantly, encouraging and supportive of those really needing it. And it works.
Over the past year and a half, CMHA Toronto clients have made impressive progress with an astounding 44% of participants quitting tobacco altogether and the remaining 56% lowering the amount they smoke.
Sharon quit too:
CMHA Toronto convinced me to join Smoke Stoppers and I’m so happy to say I’ve
been tobacco free nearly a year . It’s made it so that I need less medication, so I’m more alert, active and I feel great. I feel confident for the first time I can remember and my social circle is growing. I’ve replaced smoking with cooking as my hobby and I even got a part time job doing that!
I feel like a normal person who can do things for myself and others and I am a contributing member of society. Quitting smoking has changed everything for me.
Sharon is an inspiring example of the power of quitting tobacco and how doing so can completely turn around the life of someone living with mental illness. Sharon worked very hard to stop smoking, get into better shape, save money and improve her quality of life. We’re very proud of what she has been able to accomplish. The benefits of Smoke Stoppers to our clients are astounding and we’d like to offer the program to more people in need. But to do so, we need your financial support.
More clients need Smoke Stoppers but our grant funding has ended – please donate today
CMHA Toronto was granted one-time funding to pilot this program, but those funds are not renewable. We’re asking you to help us raise $20,000 to continue the program for another year and get even more of our clients off tobacco and back to better physical and mental health.
Your generosity is crucial to the success of this program. Even small gifts have large
impacts because Smoke Stoppers has proven to be so effective with our clients. A $20 donation enables a client to be supported by Smoke Stoppers for another week while $500 funds their entire course, meaning your help enables someone living with mental illness to take a giant step toward quitting tobacco on the path to recovery.
I couldn’t have done this without taking advantage of the encouragement and tools CMHA Toronto gave me. There are so many more people who could use this – I hope the program will continue so those people can make the kind of improvements for themselves that I’ve made for me.
We at CMHA Toronto agree with Sharon. We hope you do too.
Please donate today.
Here are some ways you can give:
- Donate online via CanadaHelps
- Mail us a cheque:
700 Lawrence Ave W. #480
Toronto, ON M6A 3B4
(write Smoke Stoppers on the note line)
- Call Sara at 416.789.7957 x 309
- In Honour of someone special (family, friends, or employer). We’ll send them a card letting them know you’ve made a donation to Smoke Stoppers in their honour. Donate In Honour today, and leave their name and address in the message/instructions box.
For more information email or call us at 416.789.7957.