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Ethical framework for community mental health 

Ethical framework for community mental health
Ethical framework for community mental health
Oxford Textbook of Community Mental Health

Abraham Rudnick

, Cheryl Forchuk

, and George Szmukler


Community mental health services have been developing in the last few decades and in the process a number of ethical issues have arisen. Some of these deserve special attention as they are relatively distinct from ethical issues related to hospital mental health services. Application of established ethical approaches in the context of community mental health services may require revision of these approaches or alternatives to them. The aim of this chapter is to review key ethics concepts, to discuss ethical issues in community mental health services, and to provide a basis for an ethical framework for community mental health.

We will present definitions and central theories in ethics, an overview of bioethics, ethical issues related to community mental health services, addressing generic as well as distinctive problems. We will consider conservative and radical approaches (the latter partly based on community psychology research and practice), and challenges arising from an ethics of community mental health services (such as the view that social justice as in ‘social inclusion’ goes beyond fair resource allocation).

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