Duty to protect
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The duty to protect is the responsibility of a mental health professional to protect patients and others from foreseeable harm. If a client makes statements that suggest suicidal or homicidal ideation, the clinician has the responsibility to take steps to warn intended victims, and if necessary, initiate involuntary commitment.[page needed]
The duty to protect was established by Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California,[page needed] which has been widely adopted by other states. This case determined that the clinician has the duty to warn an identifiable victim.  Ewing v. Goldstein extended the duty to protect to include acting upon the statements of third parties that indicate possible threat, and determined that it was not sufficiently discharged by initiating involuntary commitment; warning identifiable victims is also necessary.
In Texas there was an opposite outcome in their Supreme Court. They conceded that a mental health care provider CAN report/warn, but they don’t have to. I don’t have the case in front of me.
The 42 C.F.R. $2.20 and Hasenei v U.S., 541F. Supp. 999 (D.Md 1982). The federal law prohibits disclosure unless you obtain a court order or you can make the report without identifying the individual who threatens to commit the crime as a patient.
- Corey, Gerald Corey; Corey, Marianne Schneider; Callahan, Patrick (2007). Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole/Thomson Learning. ISBN 978-0-534-61443-0. OCLC 65465556.
- Simon, Robert I. (2001). Concise Guide to Psychiatry and the Law for Clinicians. Concise guides (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58562-024-1. OCLC 45202323.
- Weinstock, Robert; Vari, Gabor; Leong, Gregory B.; Silva, J. Arturo (December 2006). "Back to the Past in California: A Temporary Retreat to a Tarasoff Duty to Warn". Journal of the American Academy for Psychiatry and the Law. 34 (4): 523–528. PMID 17185483. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
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