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The Ethics of Mental Health

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I'm wondering what GT thinks: at what point do people have an ethical responsibility to seek treatment for mental health issues?

I tend to fall very strongly into the "if you're only hurting yourself, you have the right to do so" camp in general, but I think there's definitely a point at which an issue stops being someone's own private concern and starts to become an actual safety risk for those around them. Something like, say, severe Schizophrenia or even Borderline Personality Disorder can actually be dangerous to anyone who comes in contact with the person if it isn't treated. So does someone in that situation have the right not to be medicated, or at least to not get some kind of help?

Admittedly, I don't have any serious mental illness issues (which is actually kind of surprising considering that it does crop up on my mother's side), so this isn't a personal issue for me. And there's a whole host of other issues to unpack related to it — our society's screwed-up perception of mental health, our utter failure to provide affordable access to treatment for it — but I keep coming back to the fact that I don't feel others should be put at risk for a person's condition that makes them legitimately dangerous, just because of "personal freedom." That's where the line lives for me.


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