AvMA offers a confidential advice and information service and anything you tell us about your treatment, care and its effects on you will be kept confidential. However, there may be rare circumstances when our concerns for your safety or those of someone you are telephoning about are so great or the threat of something bad happening to you is so real and considerable that we may exercise our discretion and tell others who are better able to assist you about our concerns.
We look to the Samaritans for guidance on when we could or should be concerned about harm to one of our clients or someone who they are contacting us about. If we do consider it necessary to exercise our discretion in this way then your details may be passed to people who’ll be able to get help to you, like the ambulance service.
We take your confidentiality very seriously and will only consider speaking to someone else if we are really worried about what you have told us and feel that you are unable to make decisions.
Circumstances where this may apply include:
- If you’re in immediate danger of being hurt by someone else, we may ask the police to come and check, or do something to make sure that you’re safe.
- We will treat all threats of suicide as a potential life-threatening risk to you and we will act appropriately to address this concern.
- We are not able to counsel you if you threaten suicide.
- We consider there to be a difference between a real and actual threat of suicide and suicidal thoughts that may be the natural result of feeling depressed and anxious. As we are not experts it can sometimes be difficult for us to tell the difference but where we have any doubts we will err on the side of caution and advise the relevant authorities that the threat has arisen.
- If you’ve told us that a child is in danger, we may need to get them help. Sometimes the only way of doing that will be to contact you and ask you for more details. It may be the police that help us with this
- We may ask social services to arrange to speak to you and see how they might be able to help you.
If you do not share your details with us, we are unable to contact you or anyone else on your behalf.