Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Emergency Services (Part 4) - Right & Legal

10 Feb 2020 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

We know we do things right, we know that those we serve and look after are getting the right deal from us for the right reasons. But in who’s eyes? I beg to challenge you to disagree with me on some key statements about care for people with mental health issues: 

  • We sometimes break the rules to do the right thing 

  • We sometimes do things because they feel morally right to do 

  • At times we are conflicted by what is right and what is legal 

There, I’ve done it, I’ve committed myself to being honest! And I’ll try to tell you why. 

We’ve all had that one job where we’ve just known what was needed but also known that it can’t be done: the need for aggressive end-of-life care; the understanding of why someone thinks they’ve had enough; the demand to give someone a break, a second chance. And we’ve mulled over any number of aspects before coming to a decision – what’s right, what’s in the rules, what would others think? And then we’ve made a decision, whether it’s an independent decision or a shared one, we’ve made it. And we’ve based that decision on two key factors: experience and knowledge… because both are needed for the best decision to be made, but both may also be limited when it comes to mental health care too. 

What isn’t picked up on in the requirements set out above, is the need to consider your personal perspective in amongst all of this: what direction your moral compass points and where you place that thin line between legal, and not so legal… 

Our own situational judgement can be pre-set and dangerous. What would we do, what do we think is right and wrong, what have we seen go well (and not so well) in the past? We have opinions, thoughts and feelings but it is essential not to let them weigh too heavily on the decisions we make about someone’s health and wellbeing. At times we are asked to make a judgement without being judgemental – but is this an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms? 

I wonder how many people will post comments on this particular blog – I wonder about the level of acceptance from colleagues, I wonder if I’m out of touch. The bit I don’t wonder is whether or not the truth lies within us all. 

I really do look forward to this discussion; it will be professional, it can be personal, and it must be heartfelt and honest… 


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