Mental Health Records – Are Mental Health Records Public?
Do mental health records become public? It’s a question that has been asked by many people. Whether it’s because they think it’s only private information or whether they are unsure of the answer, there are a number of misconceptions about the matter. This article takes a look at the answer to this question.
Alcohol and drug use information
There are many public and private laws governing the sharing of information on mental health and substance abuse. One of the most important is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which was passed by Public Law 104-191. This law imposes limitations on the transfer of treatment information among mental health treatment providers. In addition, protected health information relating to alcohol and drug use is subject to additional privacy protections under 42 USC SS 290dd-2. However, the wording of the statute varies from state to state.
Some states require that health care providers notify the patient of the sharing of the information, while others allow disclosure of such information without the consent of the patient or their treatment personnel. Other laws impose limitations, such as requiring the sharing of the information within a single facility or only to the extent of the need for treatment. A few states have broader rules than the federal government, such as the Kansas law, which permits the sharing of substance abuse information with the patient’s consent or the head of a treatment facility.
Discretion lies with the treatment provider
There are many state laws that govern the sharing of mental health records with other treatment providers. The wording of these laws varies from state to state. Some laws only allow for the sharing of information within a single facility. Others permit the sharing of information with contracted agencies.
If a person is a minor, a mental health professional must notify the parent or legal guardian before sharing their information. Additionally, if a patient makes a threat or acts in a way that may harm others, the mental health professional is required to provide a reasonable warning to the victim. This requirement is known as the Duty to Warn/Protect. In New Mexico, for example, a mental health professional must report any dangerous situation to the state government if they believe that the danger is real.
Information shared with other treatment providers is subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). While HIPAA applies to the medical records of all Americans, state law is also relevant.
Misconceptions about mental health records
Mental health is a sensitive topic. It is one that has a long history of misunderstanding and stigma. However, it is important to discuss it openly.
Although mental health is not something that should be feared, it is important to recognize warning signs. These can help you seek treatment or get the right support.
Having a positive attitude toward mental illness can help you achieve better health-seeking behaviors. In addition, if you have a friend or family member who is suffering from mental health issues, you can advocate for them. This can help to dispel myths about mental disorders.
Despite the growing awareness and focus on mental health, myths about it still abound. Some of these myths are episodal. Others can be harmful.
Often, these myths are used to justify discrimination or to minimise the role of people with mental illness. Misconceptions about mental illness can also make it harder to reach out for help.