Do you keep all communications confidential including suicide decisions? (1)

Mental health Services

[RECEIVED 10/15/04] Do you keep all communications confidential including suicide decisions? Suicide is a constitutional right (see COMPASSION IN DYING et al v. STATE OF WASHINGTON et al, 79 F.3d 790 (9th Cir 1996) and STATE OF OREGON, et al v. JOHN ASHCROFT, et al 368 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir 2004), but people treat a person planning this as either a criminal or crazy though they are not and batter them and otherwise harm them. Also not all people discussing plans of things important to them want to be stopped. People discuss things with the request for someone to do something to stop situations they find intolerable, because they don’t want to die alone, or simply because people discuss all sorts of plans that are important to them. I don’t want to be stopped and don’t want to find myself in a situation where anyone does anything to me by force or against my will or without my express consent. I would like to see the situation improved but there is nothing I can do to improve the situation. There are some things some people can do to cease making the situation intolerable. (2) [RECEIVED 10/16/04] I previously asked a question but have not received an answer. Since there is no way to know if you have received the question I am sending it again. My question regards confidentiality of suicide. I did see that you answered a question from someone who is suicidal because they flunked the bar exam. That was not me. I passed the bar exam. At any rate your answer to that question did not respond to the issue of confidentiality. My question is this. What is your policy on confidentiality when you are informed of suicide plans or attempts? Do you keep this confidential or do you tell anyone of this? Since you have not responded to my question I am under the impression that communications to you are not confidential. Your policy is your policy whatever it is, but it is only fair that you disclose what your policy is.

Please note that it sometimes takes several days for our staff to have time to compose responses to your questions and get them posted on this web site.

LCL’s clinical staff are Massachusetts-licensed clinicians, and follow the same practice guidelines as would be typically found in hospital, clinic, and private practice settings. While it is probably true that some suicidal people do not wish to be stopped, and that a philosophical (or possible even a legal) case can be made in the abstract, we think it is clear that our mandate is to support healing and survival. Our policy emphasizes confidentiality in almost all circumstances, but not in cases of imminent harm to self or others. We would be glad to mail you a copy of the confidentiality information sheet that we routinely hand to new clients who come here to meet with a clinician.

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