An Exploration of Sexual Concerns and Expectations on Patients with Chronic Mental Illness
The issue of human sexuality presents patients with chronic mental illness and mental health professionals with some of the most difficult ethical, legal, judgmental, and professional problems. To deal with sexual components of illness and health, mental health, professionals must recognize personal sexuality as valuable and necessary part of treatment process. The aim of this study is to explore the sexual concerns of patients with chronic mental illness, and then provide suggestions to assist the mental health professionals to better help patients to manage their sexual concerns better. There were 115 psychiatric patients purposely selected with self-reported questionnaire and one-on-one interview from two mental hospitals in Taiwan. A semistructured interview, consisting of five open-ended questions exploring patients’ concerns and expectations regarding sexual expressions, was designed for the study. The study results revealed that 71.3% of the participants had not been given sexuality information, and 84.3% had not been approached by mental health professionals regarding their sexual concerns. However, 66.1% of participants thought their sexual concerns should be addressed with mental health professionals while they were in the hospital. The greatest sexual concern topics that participants wanted to know about and needed help with were “how to manage a comfortable and safe environment for sexual activity,” “how to express their sexual feelings and concerns to a partner,” and “how to know and manage a sexual partner’s emotional responses during sexual activity.” Furthermore, from content analysis, the three themes of “sexual and intimacy concerns,” “expectations of sexual and intimate relationship development,” and “awareness of discussing sexual and intimate relationships” emerged. Conclusion is that patients with chronic mental illness reported hoping to have opportunities to form intimate and fulfilling relationships in the future. They will willing to discuss sexual concerns if mental health professionals were able to facilitate communications about sexuality, provide sexual education, and encourage exploration of their feelings and resources. Suggestions are provided to assist mental health professionals to better help patients to manage their sexual relationship.
|關鍵詞||親密、精神疾病、精神病人、性關注、intimacy、mental illness、psychiatric patient、sexual concern|