A HYWEL Dda University Health Board team was named as the best mental health support service in Wales.

The health board’s smoking and wellbeing team were given the Best Mental Health Support Service at the Mental Health & Wellbeing Wales Awards 2023.

The team was recognise for its flexible and person-centred service provided to those with mental health lived experiences who want to cut down or stop smoking.

The judges said: “There are many factors which play a part in the reasons why some people’s mental health might take a nosedive downwards, and sometimes, this can lead to reliance on alcohol, drugs, and the like.

“The winner in this category is flying the flag for tackling an addiction which is still constant in many people’s lives – smoking. We can often forget that some people often turn to using cigarettes as a way through their mental health conditions, leaning on this particular prop as a short-term fix.

“The Hywel Dda University Health Board smoking and wellbeing team prioritises support for people who wish to improve their mental health and wellbeing by stopping smoking.”

Lucy Duncancon, senior practitioner for smoking and wellbeing within the population health improvement public health team at the health board, said: “We’re proud that our work to help mental health clients to improve their health and cut down on smoking has been recognised.

“We have successfully enhanced our standard service to reach out to those with mental health conditions to support them to reduce their tobacco dependency. We have also worked to ensure we are flexible with the support we provide, tailoring it to meet the needs of individual clients rather than expecting clients to fit in with a traditional service model.”

Cath Einon, the team’s service development manager, said: “I’m incredibly proud of the work of the whole team. The team have nearly doubled the number of smokers supported, who also have mental health conditions, during the last 12 months and continue to provide free, confidential support to all staff, patients, and members of the public in Hywel Dda who wish to give up smoking.”

Anyone thinking of giving up smoking in the Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion or Pembrokeshire areas can contact the team for free advice at https://hduhb.nhs.wales/healthcare/services-and-teams/smoking-and-well-being-team, by emailing smokers.clinic@wales.nhs.uk or by calling 0300 3039652.