Do Ethical Considerations Prevent Mental Health Responders

Ready, Willing…but Unable: Do Ethical Considerations Prevent Mental Health Responders From Helping Victims in Disasters?

Peter English, Department of Criminology, California State University, Fresno


Mental health providers play a critical role in helping victims recover from disasters. They are guided in their efforts by a combination of laws, policies, and professional ethical standards. The focus of the current article is on professional ethical principles and standards. The goals of these principles and standards are to encourage the mental health professional to do good, to do no harm, to be honest and truthful, to be accountable, and to do justice. Several relevant ethical principles and standards that may prevent the mental health professional from ethically providing services during a disaster are reviewed. Recommendations to mitigate these unintended consequences are made.


Vol 6, No 2 / March 2012     •     See Terms and Conditions for educational use.

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