August 4, 2021

In April, a federal judge in Florida ruled that mental health providers in the state of Florida cannot require patients to have mental health care professionals present during treatment. 

In response to the ruling, the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) issued a joint statement stating that “mental health professionals are not required to engage in any form of mental health intervention,” but only if their primary care providers do.

The APA and AMA both noted that, “providers of mental healthcare services are responsible for ensuring patients are not exposed to potentially harmful and potentially damaging mental health interventions.”

As a result, many states are starting to implement policies that mandate the involvement of mental illness professionals during mental health treatment.

According to the APA, “mental illnesses and mental health services are not separate and distinct clinical conditions.”

According to APA guidelines, mental health workers “must be prepared to act as mental health specialists and provide mental health information to patients in an emergency setting, as required by state law and as authorized by the patient’s state health care provider.”

The American Psychiatric Association (APS) and AMA have released guidelines that outline how mental health health professionals should work with patients during mental illness.

According the APAs guidelines, “a mental health professional is a person who has mental illness and is competent to provide professional mental health advice, care, or support to a patient, in the absence of a clinical diagnosis of mental disorder.”

According the AMA guidelines, “a mental illness diagnosis must be established in advance of providing any services or other assistance to the patient.”

While mental health experts generally agree that mental illness is a medical condition, there are exceptions to this rule.

According a report by Mental Health America, some mental health doctors may believe that they are not equipped to diagnose mental illness or that they can only provide counseling.

The American Psychological Society (APS) also advises that “psychologists should not use mental health diagnoses to justify treatment” and that mental illnesses are “a spectrum of mental disorders.”

According APS guidelines, the primary goal of a mental health practitioner should be to “assist individuals who have a mental illness condition to manage their symptoms, including managing their symptoms and seeking appropriate treatment.”