Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Mental Health Privacy Policies Leave Families In The Dark

Originally published in the Huffington Post November 26, 2015

One of the biggest complaints that families of the mentally ill have is the failure of the health system to provide them with information. Families provide ongoing care, support and housing, and yet the privacy legislation in most jurisdictions in both Canada and the U.S. prohibit staff from talking to them.

However, a newly published paper out of Western University in London, Ontario argues that despite that legislation, “clinicians have a duty to their patients’ relatives, and that clinicians regularly fail to take available practical and legal steps to ensure that families receive the information they need.”

Interesting, my psychiatrist has confirmed she has the right to divulge anything to the relevant party if I’m deemed a threat to myself or that person.

and/or drug use)
This is also valuable info. for families. Its a struggle for caregivers to know if someone is abusing, or having a relapse. Right now, they are just not going to take anytime anymore because of "Hippa" laws. Recently, I had a nurse hang up on me, and a social worker tell me that I was taking away my sons rights----JUST FOR SETTING AN APPOINTMENT FOR HIM!!!
They expect someone who is mentally ill to come in on their own, tell them to come back 3 weeks later, take 2 different buses, even if they are psychotic.
If they put them in the hospital, they will not force meds, or hold them longer.

I think meds should be forced on us when we are so psychotic that we are non compliant. It is a messed up world, and we just have to learn to show it the right face.

I agree!
But no one will listen to a mother.

We should have representatives like children have through the courts. There should be a mental health law system with its own lawyers. My dad is a lawyer and I hope to make friends with another lawyer when he is gone.

That’s an excellent suggestion.

You can get this if you want it - sort of. There is the legal option of an “Advanced Psychiatric Directive” which, when you are psychotic - gives power of attorney to a person of your choice.

At the bottom of this web page are some links to templates for “Advance Directives” that you can use:

I think this is the link to the PDF of that document - you can fill it out with a family member:

Thank you posting this.

There were times my parent’s had to fight a hospital to even be told if my brother was there or not.

Now my brother signed a lot of waivers and other directives so that my parent’s could be kept in the loop.

I have a Directive list on Google Drive, but I’ll look into this. Thanks!