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(p. 96) Ethical and Legal Issues in Mental Healthcare 

(p. 96) Ethical and Legal Issues in Mental Healthcare
(p. 96) Ethical and Legal Issues in Mental Healthcare

Ann F. Garland

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date: 02 July 2022

Mental health trainees are sometimes surprised by the weighty legal and ethical responsibilities they face. The purpose of this chapter is to introduce significant legal and ethical dilemmas so that trainees are not caught unaware later on. The issues addressed include maintaining professional boundaries, protecting confidentiality, managing mandatory reporting of child or elder abuse, and assessing for suicide or homicide risk. Brief case vignettes are used to illustrate some of the challenges in ethical decision-making. The consequences of ethical violations are briefly reviewed, and a suggested model to guide ethical decision-making is provided. The intersection of academic, research, and mental health ethical codes is discussed. Finally, readers are urged to pursue aspirational ethics beyond just adherence to laws and ethical codes. Aspirational ethics include advocacy for social and racial justice, as well as other social, environmental, human rights, health, or economic causes.

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