Introduction: State smoking-cessation telephone Quitlines have become an integral part of the United States' public health strategy for helping smokers quit. It is unclear whether these Quitlines meet the needs of smokers with a mental illness, who have unique challenges during the quitting process and may benefit from more intensive treatment. We conducted a needs assessment survey of U.S. state Quitlines (N = 51, including Washington, D.C.) to learn how they work with mentally ill callers. Methods: Quitline representatives were asked whether they have or perform six services chosen to represent basic elements of treatment access, process, and structure for mentally ill smokers. Results: We had a 96 percent response rate to our inquiries. All surveyed Quitlines accept calls from mentally ill smokers, and all either train their counselors in mental health or their counselors have past mental health training. In addition, all Quitlines encourage mentally ill callers to discuss quitting with their usual care provider for safety reasons. However, only eight surveyed Quitlines screen callers for mental illness, nine use specific counseling protocols for mentally ill callers, and only three have self-help materials tailored for the mentally ill. Discussion: Future studies are needed to identify the most effective approaches to providing telephonebased care for smokers with mental illness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health