Professional values refer to the basic principles which lead the professionals in right and meaningful direction. Mental Health Professionals (MHP) need to understand the importance of professional values and code of ethics. Realizing the professional values and ethics will strengthen the one’s skills and competence. World Health Organisation has developed a set of principles and under these principles, guidelines have been formulated. In this paper, authors have tried to bring relation between the social work values and guidelines given by WHO.
Key words: Social work values, Mental Health, Rights.
The universal Declaration of Human Rights reiterates that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself/herself and his/her family….. The highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being to enjoy. Article 21 of the Constitution of India includes the right to health. This includes free and complete access to health care facilities. No individual should be deprived of this right.
Health has an important role in one’s life. It is the basic need of every individual which needs proper care and concern. World Health Organization defines ‘Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity’.
Mental Health refers to a broad array of activities directly or indirectly related to the mental well-being component included in the WHO’s definition on Mental Health. It is related to the promotion of well-being, the prevention of mental disorders, and the treatment and rehabilitation of people affected by mental disorders (www.who.int/topics/mentalhealth/en/).
Every profession demands certain professional values and ethics in order to maintain the professional efficacy. Even mental health professional is also governed by certain ethics and values.
Molley and Reilly (1999) have defined ethics as written set of ethical standards for the professional mental health provider. They, further, enlisted some ethics that are mentioned below:
Persons with mental illness require a special and extra care. But social stigma is attached with the mental illness has made them to stay back from receiving the medical care. These people should be treated by trained professionals. In the Guidelines for the Promotion of Human Rights of Persons with Mental Health Practitioner, WHO (1996) has defined Mental Health Practitioner (MHP) as a medical doctor, clinical psychologist, nurse, social workers or other appropriately trained and qualified person with specific skills relevant to mental health care.
Hence, Mental Health Professionals include social workers also. While treating and providing health care facilities to persons with mental disorders, one should keep in mind the basic values of social work. They are:
b. Social Justice
c. Dignity and Worth of the Person
d. Importance of human relationships
Along with those core values of social work, social workers, who are working in mental health setting, should also adopt the guidelines given by the WHO. Those guidelines act as ethics for mental health practitioners. In 1996, WHO issued the guidelines under 25 different principles. The principles are:
I. Core value : Service
II. Core value : Social Justice
III. Core value : Dignity and Worth of the Person
IV. Core value : Importance of Human Relationship
V. Core value : Integrity
VI. Core value : Competence
Ethics are the basic principles which govern the conduct of the professionals. While treating the patients, mental health professionals should adopt certain professional ethics. The above mentioned guidelines serve as professional ethics and guide mental health professionals. Now-a-days the practice of professional ethics, especially in mental health setting, is gaining prominence and became professional mantra for all mental health professionals.
Nireekshan Singh Gowgi S K
Assistant Professor, Department of Studies in Social Work, Pooja Bhagavat Memorial Mahajana Post Graduate Centre, KRS Road, Metagalli, Mysore
Research Scholar, Department of Social Work, University of Mysore, Manasagangotri, Mysore
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