Mental health and women involved in selling or exchanging sex
28th September 2022: 11:30am – 1pm
FREE Event for front line workers and support services.
Mental health is a core issue in the lives of women involved in selling or exchanging sex. In Scotland, the 2021 Snapshot by the Encompass Network of services supporting women involved revealed that 80% of the women supported disclosed a mental health issue.
Yet, the links between mental health and selling/exchanging sex are not simple.
For women mental health issues can be a pathway into exchanging and selling sex, for some the impact on their mental health is not fully seen until they have stopped their involvement, and for others the coping strategies used can impact long term on their mental health.
Further, being involved in the ‘sex industry’ can lead to and/or exacerbate previous mental health issues. It can affect women’s self-esteem and sense of self, change their perception of safety, and challenge their trust in others.
At the same time, women’s wider needs such as housing, safety, money, legal support, substance use support cannot be seen in isolation from their mental wellbeing. Indeed, lack of appropriate mental health support can become a barrier for women to approach and meaningfully engage with wider services.
Following the publication of our CSE Aware Bulletin on Mental Health, this CSE Aware event will offer an introduction to the mental health needs of women involved in selling or exchanging sex in Scotland. We will reflect on the links between women’s mental wellbeing and their wider needs, and discuss examples of good practice when responding to women.
This is an introductory session and is not intended to be a comprehensive training session.
The event will offer a mix of presentations and speaker inputs along with the opportunity for attendees to participate through polls, questions and a case study. The session will cover:
- An overview of women’s mental health needs
- Inputs from practitioners who support women selling or exchanging sex
- Participation activities to consider how to respond to women’s mental health and support needs in practice.
Who can attend?
This event is open to front-line workers and support services, and it will be of particular interest to those working on violence against women; mental health; sexual health and relationships; addictions; housing; advice and support; criminal justice; public health; and social work.
Please note this event is funded through Delivering Equally Safe and follows the Scottish Government’s approach to commercial sexual exploitation as a form of gender-based violence. The event will address women’s experiences from this perspective.