World Mental Health Day is Sunday, October 10th. The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of mental health matters and encourage equal access to mental health services. At Rob Levine & Associates, we believe that mental health concerns should always be treated with the utmost care. However, there are times that mental health professionals may take advantage of their patients. If you believe you’ve been treated unprofessionally by a mental health professional, you may have a psychiatric malpractice case.
Common Mental Health Diagnoses
Numerous things can affect the state of a person’s mental health including genetics, biology, the environment, and an individual’s daily habits.
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, the most common mental health diagnoses in the U.S. by population percentage are as follows:
- Social Anxiety Disorder (6.8%)
- Major Depressive Disorder (6.7%)
- Post-Traumatic Stress (3.5%)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (3.1%)
- Panic Disorder (2.7%)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (1%)
What is Psychiatric Malpractice?
Similar to medical malpractice, psychiatric malpractice is when a psychiatrist or other mental health professional fails to meet the standard of care and in turn causes harm to the patient. There are several reasons a mental health professional may find themselves facing a malpractice case. These can include but are not limited to, failing to collect all necessary patient information, sharing confidential information, incorrectly diagnosing or prescribing medications, abusing the patient physically, mentally, or emotionally, engaging in an inappropriate physical relationship with the patient, use of unauthorized treatment techniques, abandoning a patient, or failing to perform a suicide risk assessment.
How to Win a Psychiatric Malpractice Case
Although psychiatric malpractice cases may be difficult to win, with the help of an experienced attorney, your chances of winning increase. Whether you believe there to be malpractice occurring or not, here are some tips that everyone being treated by a mental health professional should develop as habits:
- Talk to your psychiatrist and ask questions if you’re uncertain of something. All medical professionals, including mental health professionals, must obtain informed consent from a patient before moving forward with any procedures or treatment options. If you are still uncertain after speaking with your psychiatrist, seek a second opinion.
- Take notes, keep your own records, or write a diary of what happens during each visit.
- If you’re at an inpatient program, write letters to friends or family that you trust and tell them about everything that is happening daily.
- Keep records of all past and present medications including dosage, when any medications were changed, and receipts from the pharmacy.
From misdiagnosis to medication errors, psychiatric malpractice can be just as severe as any other form of medical malpractice. If you or someone you love has been the victim of psychiatric malpractice, contact the team at Rob Levine & Associates today for a free consultation. We can help get you the justice you deserve.