Mentally ill receive little sexual health advice

People with serious mental illnesses receive inadequate advice on maintaining their sexual health, scientists have claimed.

Professor Richard Gray, from the University of East Anglia's School of Nursing and Midwifery, surveyed 283 mental health workers about their role in promoting sexual health.

The survey, which was carried out in collaboration with researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, found that 80 per cent felt sexual health promotion was an important part of their role.

However, less than a third said that they routinely discussed sexual health issues with their service users.

Commenting on the findings, which are published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, Professor Gray said: "Mental health workers must be more proactive in promoting the sexual health of patients with mental illness. They are a forgotten high-risk group."

According to the schizophrenia website, people with schizophrenia may become sexually uninhibited when their symptoms are acute, meaning that they are more likely to take part in risky behaviour.

For this reason, the incidence of sexually transmitted infections is on the increase among people with schizophrenia.

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