Breathe Easy Project

Project: breathe easy - lifting the burden of smoking
Start Date: February 2008
Completion Date: August 2009

Download the Final Report


MHCC worked in partnership with the Cancer Council NSW as part of their Tackling Tobacco program to address the issue of smoking and disadvantage in NGO services. 

This project specifically focussed on MHCC's member organisations and people with a mental illness and looked at ways to reduce the disadvantage resulting from smoking.


  • A better awareness of the need to address tobacco smoking;
  • Enhanced capacity of organisations to address tobacco smoking;
  • Reduced rate of tobacco smoking.

Who was involved

  • Jenna Bateman, CEO (in consultation with Board);
  • Carla Cowles, Project Officer;
  • Cancer Council - Anita Tang (Director of Health Strategies) & Jon O'Brien (Senior Program Coordinator of Tobacco Control);
  • Reference Group - members from New Horizons, On Track, Neami, SSWAHS CCC, Mission Australia, The Samaritans;
  • Steering Committee - members from Schizophrenia Fellowship, Neami & Cancer Council;
  • MHCC members as demonstration sites
    • Hunter Joblink - Newcastle
    • Billabong Clubhouse - Tamworth
    • Personal Helpers and Mentors Program (PHaMs), Schizophrenia Fellowship - Shoalhaven
    • Supported Accommodation, Uniting Care Mental Health - Parramatta
    • Neami South East Sydney - Hurstville

MHCC member involvement

  • Input from surveys  - consumers & member organisations
  • Members with an interest in participating as a demonstration site
  • Information forums
  • MHCC also sought input from individuals and/ or agencies with specific expertise as needed. 



Smoking & Mental Health Seminar

As part of the breathe easy project MHCC held a seminar on 8 December 2008 to examine and discuss some of the beliefs and evidence around smoking and mental illness. Dr Mark Ragg presented findings from his and Dr Tanya Ahmed's literature review conducted for the Cancer Council for the tackling tobacco program. The seminar served to inform and encourage individuals and organisations on what they can do to address smoking in relation to mental health, including addressing the cultural change needed. Some findings from the member survey and future steps for the project were also presented.

Click here for information about the Cancer Council's Tackling Tobacco program