Confidentiality is important to us. All MHC staff and trainees maintain confidentiality, following D.C. laws and professional ethics. Furthermore, we are aware of the special confidentiality needs of the deaf community regarding mental health services. Information about clients is kept confidential among the Mental Health Center professional staff in accordance with legal and professional ethical requirements. No information can be released to any outside person or agency without written permission by the client with few exceptions.
However, there are exceptions to a client's legal privilege to confidentiality (1) when a client threatens or is at risk of harm to him/herself (e.g. suicidal), (2) when a client's statements or actions threaten to harm others, (3) when there is reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect, (4) when there is reasonable suspicion of abuse or neglect of a dependent adult, and (5) when records are court ordered by a judge compelling disclosure.
Because electronic mail (email) is not a confidential means of communication, information of a clinical nature will not be discussed over email. If permission is indicated on the Client Information Form, email will be used to to set up or change appointment times.