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Beyond the ‘Goldwater rule’

  • Matthew Baum (a1) (a2) and Tony Hope (a1)
Summary

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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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Tony Hope (tony.hope@ethox.ox.ac.uk)
Footnotes
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See special article, pp. 297–301, this issue.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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1 American Psychiatric Association. Ethics reminder offer about ‘Goldwater Rule’ on talking to media. Psychiatric News 2007; 42: 2 (http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/42/10/2.full).
2 Mitchell, EW. The ethics of unsolicited diagnosis of mental disorder in acquaintances: benefits and dangers. Psychiatrist 2011; 35: 297301.
3 Beddington, J, Cooper, CL, Field, J, Goswami, U, Huppert, A, Jenkins, R, et al. The mental wealth of nations. Nature 2008; 455: 1057–60.
4 Dangerous People with Severe Personality Disorder Programme. DSPD Programme – Useful Information. Ministry of Justice National Offender Management Service, Department of Health (http://www.dspdprogramme.gov.uk/useful_information.html).
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 1758-3209
  • EISSN: 1758-3217
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Beyond the ‘Goldwater rule’

  • Matthew Baum (a1) (a2) and Tony Hope (a1)
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