Amy, aged 38, used the Portsmouth wellbeing service to quit smoking and says, “I would be in a lot worse health right now if it wasn’t for the wellbeing service.” The team offer both one-to-one and group sessions for Portsmouth residents.

Amy had been a smoker since she was a teenager and had to quit back in 2016 when hospitalised with Crohn’s disease. The habit returned 6 years later when Amy found herself in a stressful housing situation. Amy said, “smoking was a time to reflect and escape when things were tough, but it was damaging my health even more”.

Amy heard about the service when she visited her GP for advice on how to quit. This was a great opportunity for Amy to get her health back on track. The free service caters for any  Portsmouth resident wanting to quit and helps them understand their addiction and how to overcome it in small achievable steps. The amount of support and options available surprised Amy, and she thinks others would be pleasantly surprised too.

Amy got in contact with the wellbeing service and arranged telephone sessions with Verity, a wellbeing practitioner. The sessions took place over 16 weeks during lockdown and fitted around Amy’s schedule, meaning sometimes they were every fortnight and sometimes weekly. Amy said, “I felt so ashamed contacting the wellbeing service as I have always known about my Crohn’s disease. Verity soon gave me the confidence to focus on the slow process and celebrate the small wins.”

Amy built a good relationship with Verity, and said, “her expertise and knowledge always had me feeling very assured.” Amy was most impressed with Verity’s experience and how she worked through trial and error to find the best way for her client. Amy said, “Unlike a family member or friend telling you off, Verity helped me become more mindful and understand my addiction.”

Since finishing her sessions, Amy has noticed a big difference in her self-esteem. Amy’s wellbeing has improved because she is no longer ashamed of doing something harmful to her health. Verity gave Amy the tools to believe in herself, and Amy said, “No one can do it for you, but there are people to do it with you.”

Amy said, “I hope more people get in contact with the service, as Verity has changed my life for the better.”

Councillor Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care at Portsmouth City Council, said; “I am so pleased that the wellbeing service was able to support Amy to quit smoking, improving her health and managing her Crohn’s disease.

“Quitting smoking will be difficult, no matter how long you have smoked for or the reason you decide to quit, but you will notice the improvements to your health straight away.”

If you are a Portsmouth resident and wish to quit smoking, contact the wellbeing service on 02392 294 001 or visit the website to fill out a self-referral form.