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Stigma as a barrier to mental health service use among female sex workers in Switzerland


Zehnder, Mara; Mutschler, Jochen; Rossler, Wulf; Rufer, Michael; Rüsch, Nicolas (2019). Stigma as a barrier to mental health service use among female sex workers in Switzerland. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10:32.

Abstract

Background: Many sex workers suffer from mental health problems, but do not seek help. Aim: To examine stigma-related and non stigma-related barriers to care and perceived need for treatment among female sex workers in Switzerland. Methods: Mental health service use, barriers to care, perceived need and presence of illness, symptoms, and psychiatric diagnoses were assessed among 60 female sex workers in Zürich, Switzerland. Outcomes: Mental health service use was defined as use of psychiatric medication, psychotherapy, or substance use services for at least 1 month during the past 6 months. Results: Adjusting for symptom levels, mental health service use was predicted by lower stigma-related, not by structural, barriers as well as by more perceived need for treatment and higher age. Clinical Implications: Sex workers with mental health problems would benefit from non-stigmatizing mental health care as well as from interventions to reduce public and self-stigma associated with mental illness and sex work. Strengths and Limitations: Limitations are the cross-sectional data, limited sample size, and recruitment from an information center for sex workers. Conclusion: Interventions that aim to increase mental health service use among sex workers should take stigma variables into account.

Abstract

Background: Many sex workers suffer from mental health problems, but do not seek help. Aim: To examine stigma-related and non stigma-related barriers to care and perceived need for treatment among female sex workers in Switzerland. Methods: Mental health service use, barriers to care, perceived need and presence of illness, symptoms, and psychiatric diagnoses were assessed among 60 female sex workers in Zürich, Switzerland. Outcomes: Mental health service use was defined as use of psychiatric medication, psychotherapy, or substance use services for at least 1 month during the past 6 months. Results: Adjusting for symptom levels, mental health service use was predicted by lower stigma-related, not by structural, barriers as well as by more perceived need for treatment and higher age. Clinical Implications: Sex workers with mental health problems would benefit from non-stigmatizing mental health care as well as from interventions to reduce public and self-stigma associated with mental illness and sex work. Strengths and Limitations: Limitations are the cross-sectional data, limited sample size, and recruitment from an information center for sex workers. Conclusion: Interventions that aim to increase mental health service use among sex workers should take stigma variables into account.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Psychiatry and Mental health, barriers to care; mental health; perceived need for treatment; prostitution; service use; sex work; stigma
Language:English
Date:5 February 2019
Deposited On:03 Feb 2020 17:06
Last Modified:01 Mar 2021 14:45
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-0640
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00032
PubMed ID:30804819

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