Covering issues related to mental illness (Tutorial exercise #7)

Department leaks private medical records

By Anastasia McInerney

The Community Welfare Department leaked private medical records of childcare staff yesterday.

Director of Community Welfare Ms Anderson said she was “aware” details were exchanged between staff and parents of the Smith Day Care Service.

Parents of the day care said they “should have been told” of the psychiatric state of one staff member who reported to be suffering from schizophrenia.

“It’s outrageous we weren’t told about it,” a mother said.

Ms Anderson said she “can’t divulge any confidential information” to the public about applicants.

“It is our policy to talk to the people whenever there is a proposed change that might affect them,” Ms Anderson said.

“I can assure you we take any risk to children’s safety very seriously.”

Joan Smith, owner of the Smith Day Care Service, said the staff member was dealing with a “terrible illness” but was “getting help”.

“Everybody loves her,” Mrs Smith said.

“Those do-gooders from Community Welfare don’t know the harm they’re doing.”

Mrs Smith said the staff member was a “victim” of “cruel” protests by local residents.

An Indiana University study revealed that there was still a misconception that schizophrenia sufferers are “not fit” for positions of authority.

Mental health promotion organisation Mindframe said schizophrenia affects about one in 100 Australians per year.

“Schizophrenia is a very complex and serious illness which affects many people in different ways,” psychiatrist Dr Phillips said.

Sufferers could lead “relatively normal lives” if “treated by medication and community support”.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from schizophrenic symptoms please ring Lifeline’s hotline on 13 11 14 or contact a local GP or health professional.

For immediate assistance please phone 000.

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