Understanding the current sexual health service provision for mental health consumers by nurses in mental health settings: Findings from a Survey in Australia and England Academic Article uri icon


  • Nurses in mental health settings avoid talking to consumers about sexual health concerns. It is unclear whether this avoidance prevents the provision of sexual healthcare. The present study gathered information about how mental health nurses respond to sexual health issues within their routine practice, what issues they address, and their view on their role in promoting sexual health for consumers. A cross-sectional study using an electronic survey questionnaire, originally generated from a previous study in the united kingdom, was employed. The study occurred in four National Health Service Trusts in England and a national call for participants in Australia. Participants were nurse clinicians (n = 303) who self-selected by completing surveys available via email and newsletters containing links to the survey. The results demonstrated that mental health nurses do not routinely include sexual health in their practice and are poorly prepared in knowing what to do with a sexual health issue, and what services to assist consumers to use. In conclusion, it has been well established in the literature that mental health consumers experience high sexual health needs that potentially impact on health and recovery. Mental health nurses are ideally placed to promote sexual health and refer consumers to sexual health and family planning services. Training to improve the confidence and responsiveness of mental health nurses to sexual health is an urgent need.

publication date

  • 2018