Background: The affective and sexual needs of psychiatric patients are often under-considered, although they contribute significantly to their general well-being. Such topics are critical for Residential Psychiatric Facilities Users (RPFUs), whose daily life is paced by therapeutic settings. The aim of this paper is to better understand how sexuality and affectivity are expressed by the RPFUs at the Mental Health Department of Modena, within psychiatric residential settings. Methods: Adult RPFUs took part into two audio recorded focus groups. Digital transcripts were analyzed using MAXQDA software in order to perform qualitative narrative analysis, so as to develop a hierarchical code system a posteriori (derived from the data). Results: Eleven participants (eight RPFUs and three investigators) attended the first focus group, and eight participants (5 RPFUs and 3 investigators) attended the second focus group. 175 interventions were analyzed and coded under seven thematic areas: (a) contraception and sexually transmitted disease prevention (N
= 17); (b) affective needs (N
= 11); (c) personal experiences (N
= 61); (d) regulation of sexual relations (N
= 18); (e) Mental Health Professionals’ (MHPs) openness towards the topic (N
= 17); (f) MHPs’ responses to RPFUs’ sexual behaviors (N
= 33); and (g) RPFUs proposals (N
= 18). The highlighted topics suggest that affective and sexual relations commonly occur within residential psychiatric facilities, even if mental health services often fail to recognize and address RPFUs’ affective and sexual needs as well as to provide effective solutions to manage them. Conclusions: RPFUs expressed a request for support to fulfill their affective and sexual needs and dedicated spaces for sexual activities to relieve their discomfort, while MHPs highlighted a need for awareness, training, and shared problem-solving strategies.
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