Should We Amend Confidentiality Laws in the Mental Health System?
A new suicide study emerged last week, which is hoping to shed light on a major flaw in our mental health system. The study lead by Professor Brian Jasper of UNSW, identified that communication between healthcare professionals and relatives ‘ could help save lives.’ The research team examined 74 suicide cases from NSW and QLD and ascertained that while family members were aware of suicide warning signs like ‘ stockpiling pills or giving possessions away’ they failed to communicate this to healthcare professionals.
The study has urged psychologists to actively seek out the observations of family members to preventatively evade the risk of suicide, but this has raised debate about the ethics of breaking patient confidentiality. Infringements and contraventions of confidentiality are a big deal in the medical fraternity, but today the call is being made to set this aside, and where appropriate, talk to family if psychologists detect a sufficient suicide risk
The Daily discussed this with National Manager of Headspace School Support, Kristen Douglas.