Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Call for more sexual health training for mental health nurses

  • Comment

Mental health nurses need more training on how to deliver sexual health education to people with serious mental health problems, say UK nurse researchers

They surveyed 283 mental health professionals working in an NHS mental health trust in London, half of whom were nurses.

The reserachers found that although 80% of those surveyed agreed that promoting sexual health was an important part of their role, only 30% routinely discussed sexual health with mental health patients.

The survey also revealed that 92% of respondents were unaware that people with schizophrenia were more likely to have HIV than the general population, and 72% did not believe they were more likely to engage in high-risk sexual behaviour.

‘Lack of awareness of the increased HIV risks faced by service users with schizophrenia is of particular concern, as studies have shown that they have higher HIV infection rates than the general population. These range from 5% in Europe to up to 19% in North America,’ said lead researcher Elizabeth Hughes, research associate at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.

The survey also revealed that 14% of those studied felt uncomfortable discussing sexual health issues with mental health patients, and 13% were uncomfortable discussing gay and lesbian issues.

‘We are concerned by our findings because it means that people with serious mental illnesses are not routinely receiving sexual health information and intervention,’ said Ms Hughes.

‘We are calling for improved training on the sexual health risks faced by people with serious mental illness and better links between mental health and sexual health services,’ she added.

Journal of Clinical Nursing (2009) 18: 591-600

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.