Mitchell discusses the moral responsibilities of psychiatrists who, when outside professional settings, suspect that a person might benefit from psychiatric help. Is making an unsolicited psychiatric diagnosis ever the right thing to do? The American Psychiatric Association's guidance is that it is not, unless the psychiatrist has been granted authorisation. Although sensitive to harms from ‘unsolicited diagnoses', Mitchell argues that this guidance is too blunt: the benefits may outweigh the harms. We foresee, however, the possibility that psychiatrists may become pressured to make unsolicited diagnoses to protect or improve society rather than serve the best interests of the individual.
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