A new study in the Journal of Ethics in Mental Health (JEMH) highlights the variety of ethical questions that community mental health organizations are faced with on any given day.

Based on a true account set in a fictional Canadian city, the feature addresses several ethical issues, including questions of client confidentiality vs community safety, consent and capacity, and how to support clients who are living at risk. Practical considerations in case studies are also presented. For example, in one scenario staff discuss whether they are obligated to report animal cruelty if they perceive pets to be at risk in a client’s home; in another, they debate whether contraband needs to be reported if it does not pose a risk to others.

The article follows the work of the agency’s Ethics Committee as they consider these issues, and shares in detail the consultation, discussion and reflection that the committee undertakes in order to consider every angle of these scenarios fairly.

In sharing these experiences, the journal aims to provide a useful forum for sharing ideas and experiences among all who are committed to improving ethical standards, behaviours, and choices in mental health caregiving.

For more information, read the article on the JEMH website.