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Tarasoff vs Threat: Considerations for Mental Health Providers Navigating Legal, Ethical and Practical Variables Associated with Preventing Mass Acts of Violence| Abstract
ISSN: 1522-4821

International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience
Open Access

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  • Expert Review   
  • Int J Emerg Ment Health, Vol 23(6): 477
  • DOI: 10.4172/1522-4821.1000477

Tarasoff vs Threat: Considerations for Mental Health Providers Navigating Legal, Ethical and Practical Variables Associated with Preventing Mass Acts of Violence

Daniel C. Holland1*, Mark Newmeyer2, Jamie A. Holland3 and Amber Quaranta-Leech4
1Institute for Violence Research, School of Psychology & Counseling, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
2Institute for Violence Research, Concordia University, Irvine, California, USA
3Assistant Professor, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Director, Research & Care Institute, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
4Professional Counselor, Doctoral Student, Institute for Violence Research, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA
*Corresponding Author : Daniel C. Holland, Institute for Violence Research, School of Psychology & Counseling, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, Email: [email protected]

Abstract

Protecting patients and communities is a serious concern for counselors and the rest of the mental health community. The process of violence must be interrupted before events occur. Every day, mental health workers must navigate complex ethical territory regarding confidentiality and their Duty to protect potential victims from targeted violent acts. Federal agencies responsible for ensuring privacy and other professional organizations provide guidance to assist in this critical process. A review of multiple factors significant during the application of these standards provides insight to the mental health community tasked with navigating ethical and logistical concerns during critical moments when working with potentially lethal patients. Through a stronger understanding of the differences between general threat and targeted threat assessments, state and ethical limitations and expectations regarding threats, elements present in imminent threats and the power of collective intelligence gained by collaboration, inter-disciplinary care and the reduction of siloed mental health care, and increased community connections, the mental health community can increase its effectiveness at managing potential targeted threats, interrupting the process of violence and decreasing lethal actions.

Keywords: Tarasoff, Mass Shooting, Mental Health, Duty to Warn, Duty to Protect, Ethics

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