I have read articles and stories about “mentally ill” people who are revealed to be a danger to the public after something happens. “A Chicago man who kidnapped an old lady has been found to be mentally ill”. Is the headline. My question is; Where did the press get this information? Right to privacy, especially regarding medical records, is supposed to be protected. Even if a person breaks the law, do they not deserve that protection? Maybe even more so? As soon as the words “mentally ill” are spoken, images of a crazed lunatic come to mind. Perhaps even automatic guilt is implied because they were ‘out of control’.
I gets even worse when it comes to civil matters. When martial disputes arise, if one spouse is portrayed to be ill, they are usually under the gun to scramble to prove that they are not the bad person. I also contend that it might easily be that both spouses could have issues that, if diagnosed, would even the playing field.
Diagnosis. This is the key word. Going to get help for a problem and being diagnosed with ANY mental illness puts one at a disadvantage when it comes to divorce, custody, or trouble with the law for examples. When it comes to couples, there are a multitude of stories to support this statement. The person who merely stays quiet, never seeks help or keeps a problem quiet, might easily be just as culpable. But the diagnosis will sway many people to the side of the “normal” one. Isn’t that why patient confidentiality is so important?
I believe that any person, professional or lay, who leaks information about someone’s health, physical or mental, should be held legally liable. Pertinent information should only come to light when legally necessary and requested by the court. Without protection, people will avoid treatment and suffer needlessly because of many of the things mentioned here.