What is it about?

This paper explores the sexual health and relationship needs of people with severe mental ill- ness (SMI), as well as develop an argument that positive intimate relationships are a fundamental human right for all, including those with mental health issues.

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Why is it important?

It is important to raise awareness not only of the increased prevalence of violence and infection in this group, it is also important for mental health nurses (and the other health and social care professionals) to understand the circumstances and risk factors related to these unwanted consequences and be able to screen, educate and intervene if risk behaviours are identified.


Nurses are well placed to not only discuss sexual matters but also to enable people to develop the necessary life skills to promote sexual expression and to impact posi- tively upon a person’s recovery experience. Further research is needed to develop pragmatic interven- tions to be delivered in mental health services, as well as supporting staff to feel more comfortable in talking about sex and relationships.

Dr Edward McCann
City, University of London

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The sexual health and relationship needs of people with severe mental illness, Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, June 2016, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/jpm.12317.
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