As a single mother, the burden of raising your children can sometimes be too heavy to bear. This means one will do whatever it takes to lift this burden. Mercy chooses sex work as her way of life. The community has it in mind that sex work is cheap and easy money, but the experience in the streets makes one realize that just like any other job, this one too has its own challenges.
This has led to most of these women developing mental health issues. Feeling sad or down, reduced ability to concentrate, excessive fear or worries, mood swings, hallucinations, problems with excessive alcohol or drugs, suicidal thoughts, and excessive anger, among others, are the signs and symptoms of mental health It is believed 6 out of 10 sex workers suffer from mental health problems.
BHESP, as an organization, has worked tirelessly to provide sessions on mental health to help improve the state at which we are when it comes to sex workers and mental health. We say a problem shared is a problem halfway solved. The provision of a safe space, with internet and music at the BHESP drop-in centers where these women can spend time as they get entertained and share their issues has worked as one of the best therapies.
The provision of a friendly environment by our clinicians, who are always willing to listen and offer advice, has also helped many of our clients deal with mental health. We are not only concerned about the sex workers’ well-being but also their sober minds as they carry out their work. We believe that when one’s mental well-being is stable, she will be able to take precautions even during their encounter with their clients, therefore reducing exposure to GBV, unwanted pregnancies, and even sexually transmitted infections.