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Article   |    
Developing Family Planning Services for Female Chronic Mentally Ill Outpatients
John Coverdale; John Aruffo; Henry Grunebaum
Psychiatric Services 1992; doi:
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The authors thank Pedro Ruiz, M. D., for his support and advice.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Auckland Medical School, Private Bag, Auckland, New Zealand

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock

Cambridge (Mass.) Hospital; Harvard Medical School in Boston

1992 by the American Psychiatric Association

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The family planning needs of chronic mentally ill women outpatients, many of whom do not use contraceptives and are at high risk for unwanted pregnancies, have been rarely addressed. Taking a thorough sexual history is the first step in assessing patients' need for family planning services. Patient education, including instruction about physiological processes and contraceptive methods and assertiveness training, is the most important service component. Offering family planning services in the mental health center has many advantages, including better communication between mental health care providers and family planning specialists about patients' special needs and enhanced opportunities for integrating family planning with other programs such as parenting classes, substance abuse treatment, and services for preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

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