Book of Proceedings: Sexual Health and Safety Conversations are Important: How Training in a Trauma-Informed Sensitive Enquiry Approach Can Support Clinician and Consumer Conversations about Sex

By April 15, 2020 No Comments

Authors: Lori Leach

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: book of proceedings

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

ISBN: 9780994570260

Abstract: Paper from the 2019 TheMHS Conference by Lori Leach. Published as part of the 2019 Book of Proceedings.

Biography:

Lori is a Principal Project Officer at the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning and currently leads the Sentinel Events Review team which specialises in risk assessment and management training. Lori is concurrently a University of Queensland staff associate with 15 years’ experience in health communication and patient safety research.

Up to 48% of mental health consumers have been victims of sexual abuse. How clinicians think and talk about sexual health and safety is important because it can influence their behaviour towards consumers. As talking about sex is socially taboo, clinical conversations about sexual abuse can be unsettling and sometimes avoided. This paper explores health professional perceptions of sexual health and safety conversations and training needs to support these. Queensland Health mental health and alcohol and other drugs service clinicians across the state (n = 737) completed a mixed methods questionnaire, and a sub-group of these (n = 22) participated in semi-structured interviews. Findings showed that the perceived importance of communication and clinical skills was systematically higher than perceived proficiency; but also, that clinicians were confident that their service provided appropriate safe care. Interview data revealed the importance of the skilled application of trauma-informed care and sensitive inquiry in fostering safety and wellbeing. The findings are currently being employed by the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning to inform training that aims to upskill clinicians in open sensitive inquiry. Upskilling clinicians is likely to support consumer engagement, consumer sexual health and safety, and their psychological wellbeing.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: Develop a deeper understanding of the importance of sexual health, safety and stigma in mental health services, and how upskilling in a trauma-informed sensitive inquiry approach can build confidence in sensitively supporting consumer needs and destigmatise sexual health and safety conversations.
Learning Objective 2: Gain awareness of how to incorporate consumer sexual health and safety into the risk assessment and management plans for consumers. The presentation will include an overview of a Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning risk assessment and management training program under redevelopment.

References
Quinn, C., Happell, B., & Browne, G. (2011). Talking or avoiding? Mental health nurses' views about discussing sexual health with consumers. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 20(1), 21-28. doi:doi:10.1111/j.1447-0349.2010.00705.x
Read, J., Hammersley, P., & Rudegeair, T. (2007). Why, when and how to ask about childhood abuse. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 13(2), 101-110. doi:10.1192/apt.bp.106.002840

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