A 20-year, multi-million dollar study of more than 10,000 New Yorkers scheduled to begin next year claims that it will enable the development of theories, therapeutics, and policies to improve the health and quality of human life. Although still in the planning stages, the breadth of the data collection proposed (including health habits, biological data, and geospatial mapping) combined with the lack of detail accompanying such a widespread publicity effort raises questions regarding the extent to which the research risks of such an endeavor have been well thought out.
Mental health practice, assessment and research can be highly fulfilling, but also emotionally demanding. In recent years, the field of psychology has made a concerted effort to educate psychologists about the effects of various types of caregiver stress (including secondary traumatic stress and vicarious traumatization in which the professional internalizes or is otherwise personally affected by the trauma experienced by those with whom the professional works) on their mental health and professional work (Collins & Long, 2003; Figley, 2002). Extreme cases can lead to a phenomenon known as compassion stress/fatigue (Figley, 2002), which can often be accompanied by a decrease in professional self-efficacy and a reduced willingness to help (Figley, 2002; Newell & MacNeill, 2010).
In this address, Fisher describes her innovative approach to giving vulnerable adolescents and their families a voice in ensuring the responsible conduct of research. Her work illuminates the importance of fitting research ethics protections to the real world lives of LGBT teens, pediatric cancer patients, and ethnic minority youth in ways that reflect their values and merit their trust.
In a recent article in the American Journal of Bioethics Kayhan Parsi of the Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine exhorted bioethicists to address racism in their work. What the article did not address is why in 2016 it has taken bioethics so long to recognize a problem existing for more than 50 years since the field’s nascence.
Psychologists who provide mental health services to adolescents and their families must navigate complex ethical challenges with respect to confidentiality and disclosure decision-making.
How do mental health clinicians develop confidentiality policies that serve to protect minors from serious harm, fulfill professional and legal responsibilities, and preserve the therapeutic relationship with the adolescent and parents/ guardians?