Sexual Health in Mental Health Services 

Sexual health is an important yet often neglected aspect of care for people who use mental health services. They are more likely to experience sexual and physical abuse and exploitation; more likely to have HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; and more unintended pregnancy that people in the general population. Mental health practitioners say they avoid this topic for fear of embarrassing the person and causing upset.

Prof Liz Hughes (University of Huddersfield) leads a sexual health theme within the Mental Health and Co-Morbidities Theme of NIHR CLAHRC YH.  The RESPECT study (NIHR funded) aims to develop and test a sexual health promotion intervention for people in community mental health services. In addition to the RESPECT study, Samantha Gascoyne (University of York) is undertaking a CLAHRC funded PhD examining sexual risk behavior and tools for assessment of this in people with serious mental illness.