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Ask, explore, share

Ask, explore, query, share
fred-gay
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 21, 2020 11:47 am

Re: Ask, explore, share

Postby fred-gay » Thu May 21, 2020 11:56 am

Hi,

I have a friend (LGBTQ) who suffers from anxiety daily, she has suffered from depression and has had suicidal thoughts in her past. She was sexually abused in some way as a child (she's 18 now) and struggles with intimacy and trust in relationships. Even an unexpected touch on the shoulder from a close friend will make her jump and large crowds can make her overwhelmed/ cause a panic attacks (a shame because she loves music concerts and festivals). She doesn't have a close emotional relationship with her parents; they have no idea about her abuse or her current issues.

She wants to get professional help but is worried to go down the NHS route as she doesn't want a record of mental health as it may impact specific professions she may want to have. She is also worried her therapist or chancellor would be legally obliged to report the sexual abuse as she doesn't want any action to be taken against the person, she only wants help to heal. As her friend I'm trying to find her the best help she can get (for free (we're both students)) whilst mitigating these fears. Her main worry is the abuse being reported and acted upon, is it true that it would be out of her control if she were to get help from the NHS and that a history of mental health could affect her job opportunities?

Many thanks,
Fred

psychnurse
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed May 27, 2020 3:11 pm

Re: Ask, explore, share

Postby psychnurse » Wed May 27, 2020 3:58 pm

Hi Fred,

We are quite tightly bound by law to respect peoples confidentiality in the NHS and will only go against someones wishes for privacy if we believe there is an imminent risk of harm (either to the client or a member of the public). In practice health services will provide information on confidentiality and consent to share information in one of the first appointments. Your friend would be able to ask for this and then decide whether they feel comfortable going ahead with getting help.

From what you've described it sounds like the abuse is not happening right now and not likely to happen in the near future which means any professional would have a duty to make this information confidential. This means we would not disclose any information to the police or any potential employers unless it sounds like someone will be harmed if we do not act. We would then have a duty to share this information, but with only relevant people.

I hope this answers some of your questions but its not uncommon for people to feel embarassed when first getting help. If she is upfront about this when she first meets with a professional then I hope we would be sensitive to this.

Of course looking outside of the NHS to LGBTQ support services would also be an option; there are often charities that offer this depending on where you live. Do a google search for whats in the area. They would, of course, be confidential too but with the same duty of care to prevent harm by sharing information only if necessary.


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