Sexual Health: An Essential Part of Recovery | Recording


People often think about sex as something that happens in our bodies, but much of our sex life occurs in our brains. It is critical to understand that for all genders our feelings and thoughts play a significant role in our sexual health. Anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, and psychosis all include symptoms that affect sexual life, such as decreased arousal, desire, or sexual satisfaction. Living with a mental illness can harm a person's self-esteem and make them feel undeserving of sexual attention or a healthy relationship. Medications to treat mental disorders can cause or exacerbate sexual dysfunction.

Behavioral health providers play a unique role in their clients’ lives, and treatment relationships provide opportunities to support client sexual health. Session 1 of the series will provide the rationale for integrating sexual health and behavioral health care, and an overview of the research highlighting the importance of this issue.

Part 1 of the Sexual Health Series (click to view all sessions in this series).



Lydia Chwastiak, MD, MPH

Dr. Chwastiak is a psychiatrist, internist and health services researcher who is a Professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  Over the past 22 years, her research has focused on improving care and outcomes for people with complex needs in low resource settings, such as low-barrier primary care clinics and community mental health centers in the US, and primary and secondary medical settings in India and Nepal. Dr. Chwastiak is co-directs the UW Behavioral Research in HIV (BIRCH) Center, an NIMH-funded AIDS Research Center, and is the PI and co-director of the Northwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (NW MHTTC).

Christina Clayton

Christina Clayton, MSW, LICSW, SUDP

Christina Clayton has been in the behavioral health field since 1993, primarily serving adults who live with severe mental health issues, substance use, experience chronic homelessness, suffer from poor physical health, trauma and any number of co-occurring issues. Christina has education and licenses/credentials in clinical social work, mental health and substance use, and highly values her direct service experience. Prior to joining the MHTTC in 2018, she spent 25 years working in and managing numerous clinical programs. She has provided licensure supervision, training and consultation, and has been a SW Field Instructor since 2000 She is Co-Director for the Northwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center and Interim Assistant Dean & Director of Field Education for the UW School of Social Work.

Victor Ramirez, MSPH

Mountain West AETC, Washington State Training Coordinator

Mountain West AETC Local Partner University of Washington, Washington State Training Coordinator


Laurie SyllaLaurie Sylla MHSA

Laurie Sylla has been involved with AIDS since the early 1980s, as an agency/program director, direct service provider, advocate, researcher, coalition leader, and educator. She is a co-founder of the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York and the Community Research Initiative of New England (CRI). She is currently the Director of the Mountain West AIDS Education & Training Center, based at the University of Washington.

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May 3, 2024
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