Examples of Ethical Issues in Mental Health

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Examples of Ethical Issues in Mental Health

Mental health is a state of mind that affects one’s cognitive, behavioral and emotional well-being. It can vary over time due to various factors like work, family life, relationships, financial status, social conditions and health. A person’s mental health plays an essential role in their capacity for performing at work as well as leading an enriching life.

Mental illness is a global health concern that affects millions of people around the world, contributing to morbidity and mortality rates for both societies and individuals (WHO 2001b). Unfortunately, in many countries resources allocated for this burden are insufficient and unevenly distributed. Furthermore, stigma and discrimination often surround those living with mental illnesses, further compounding their problems.

Ethical concerns in mental health are complex and multi-faceted, impacting both those living with psychiatric disorders as well as researchers working to gain a better understanding of their causes, symptoms, treatments and preventions. This necessitates a range of skillsets from healthcare professionals as well as ethical guidelines that promote openness and integrity during research practices.

Mental health professionals face ethical dilemmas such as treating and exploiting patients, research misconduct, discrimination, and sexual harassment. To effectively address these matters, mental health professionals need to take a holistic approach which ensures patients’ needs are met while protecting everyone involved’s rights and interests.

Protection of human rights, particularly those of persons with psychiatric disorders and psychoactive substance use disorder, is a top priority in ethical decision-making. Additionally, researchers must also be safeguarded as they have an essential role to play in developing knowledge about mental illness development and advancement.

Therefore, protecting the rights of those with psychiatric disorders in research contexts has become a top priority for researchers and research ethics committees worldwide (Richardson & Sutton 2013; Corring et al 2018). Public health and mental health policymakers also need to take into account not only potential risks or harms involved but also any moral implications from their decisions – particularly in relation to those conducting such studies.

Coercive measures often used in mental health care settings can exacerbate the distress and distressing symptomatology experienced by those suffering from serious mental illness*, especially when they lack the capacity to make their own informed decisions about treatment or express their wishes ahead of time about medical treatments, care and support. Examples include seclusion, mechanical constraint, restraint / holding and forced medication administration.

Even with legal representation and advocates, some of these coercive measures can still cause distressing and counter-therapeutic feelings for those affected. Furthermore, this situation has long-term detrimental effects on patients’ physical and psychological wellbeing as well as their trust in healthcare providers.

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