Cambridge Independent Neuroscience and Psychiatry Services
Doctors and other mental health professionals honour confidentiality agreements.  This means that what you talk about during appointments or sessions, will not normally be passed on to anyone else.

Professionals are, however, obligated to
break confidentiality and share information when they feel that you or someone else is at immediate risk of harm or danger, for example:   
-if you are being abused, hurt or threatened
-if another child is being abused or threatened
-if you are a minor having sexual relations
-if you have ideas, intent or plans to harm yourself or anyone else
-if we feel you are not able to ensure your own safety

Information can also be shared between medical (usually GP) and mental health professionals (usually within the same team), if it is felt that it will benefit assessment, treatment and care.  Information is often shared within a mental health team, for instance, discussed during team meetings. Team members keep all information confidential.  This is usual practice in medical teams and can benefit a child, as multi-disciplinary colleagues can offer advice and input from different perspectives.   

We usually discuss sharing information with you and inform you if we need to share information, before we pass the information on if we plan to pass information to an outside or external agency such as your school.

We almost always write to your GP with our impression and recommendation that we also share with you.  Your GP knows about confidentiality and will also keep your confidence if your safety is not a concern.

Speak to your GP or any doctor or mental health professional about confidentiality and find out what he or she might share and what he or she won't share.  It is very important that you feel comfortable to share information openly without anxiety, so that your doctor or will be able to make the correct diagnosis or rule out diagnoses, and provide you with the best care and treatment plan possible.  

Doctors and mental health professionals have often 'heard it all', there is very little you will be able to say that they have not heard before. Please prioritise your own health and well-being and share your concerns.  

Will you tell my parents?

Most professionals will agree that it is in children's best interest to share information with their parents.  However, if children or young people ask professionals not to share information they will weigh the risks and benefits and make a decision regarding whether the information needs to be shared.  

Please see Gillick Competence.  

Professionals will always share information with parents, carers and appropriate authorities when immediate or short term risk issues are identified; their first priority will always be to ensure the child is (and children are) safe.

Professionals always aim to discuss sharing information with children, before they share information.  Children usually agree that the information can be shared.  

We often revisit the topic of 'sharing information with parents' with children who do not want to share information with their parents.  Most children decide to share information eventually, once they feel that they are making progress and they are comfortable in their treatment plan.

We always put the safety of children first, we also aim to respect children's wishes and work collaboratively with parents, carers, families and professionals.

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