July 20, 2018 Reporting Requirements Pursuant to the Mental Hygiene Law
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
The New York Safe Act added § 9.46 to the Mental Hygiene Law, which requires mental health professionals providing treatment services to an individual to report to county mental health officials whenever, in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment, the mental health professional determines that the individual represents a danger to him/herself or others. If a county mental health official agrees with this assessment, then he/she must report it to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, which then determines whether the individual has a gun permit. If so, the permit can be suspended and any guns seized.
While this section of the Mental Hygiene Law was enacted in 2013, it was generally believed that it did not apply to school personnel because they provide student counseling and not mental health treatment services. However, we have recently been advised that the State Education Department and the Department of Health have jointly opined that § 9.46 does apply to registered nurses, licensed clinical social workers and psychologists licensed pursuant to the Commissioner’s Regulations who work in a school setting.
The law also provides that the mental health professional’s decision to disclose or not to disclose, when made reasonably and in good faith, will not be the basis for any civil or criminal liability. It also makes clear that the mental health professional is not required to take any action that would endanger him/herself or increase the danger to a potential victim.
Finally, this reporting requirement is in addition to, and not a substitute for, any other existing reporting requirements.
If you have any questions regarding these reporting requirements, please contact Robert H. Cohen or one of our other attorneys by calling 631-694-2300.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
© Lamb & Barnosky, LLP 2018