MindLine Cumbria is a confidential and independent service, and we want you to feel safe when you talk to us. Confidentiality is very important and it can be reassuring to know that what you share won’t be repeated.
There are times however when we have to adhere to the law and break confidentiality because something we are told makes us think someone under the age of 18 or a vulnerable adult is at risk.
We don’t break confidentiality lightly and we will always make as thorough an assessment as we can before acting, and we will always aim to involve you in any assessment we make and tell you before we share information you have told us with another agency.
When will you break confidentiality?
We would only need to share what you tell us with someone if:
- we believe you or someone else is at risk of serious harm
- we are told about acts of terrorism or bomb warnings
If you are under 18 we may also share information if:
- we are concerned that your mental health is poor, that you are in a current crisis and not in touch with mental health services
- we are concerned that you could seriously hurt yourself
- you are having suicidal thoughts and that you may act on those thoughts
We might also contact other organisations if you ask us to get you help because you can’t do this yourself
Who would you tell if you break confidentiality?
If we decide that what you have said or written makes us think you or someone else may be at risk, we will always try and contact you to tell you that we will have to share what you have said with someone who can help. We always want to give you as much control as possible, and will explain our policy to you and tell you if we feel we might need to contact other agencies to help you access support.
This may be Social Services or in an emergency situation, or if a crime has taken place, we might contact the Police.
Will you know my name or other personal details?
If you contact us by phone or text we will be able to see your phone number, and might use this if one of the situations listed above comes up. If you prefer to remain completely anonymous you might want to withhold your number before calling.
If you contact us by email we will be able to see your email address and your IP address. Although your email address and IP address are kept confidential, you may prefer to remain completely anonymous by setting up another email account.
We may ask you your first name during a call but you don’t have to give it. We will never share your name unless we think you are at risk or you have told us about someone else at risk.
Emails, letters and call recordings are stored securely and then deleted after three months. Anonymised details of queries, such as age and query topic, are kept to help us develop the service and raise funds to keep it going.
Will you tell someone if I am suicidal?
If you are 18 or over
We will not break confidentiality because you tell us you are suicidal or if you tell us
you have a plan to take your life. We would break confidentiality if you tell us you
have an immediate plan to take your life that would place the lives of others at risk.
We would also break confidentiality if you asked us to.
If you are under 18
We will only break confidentiality if we believe that it is likely that you will act on
the suicidal thoughts you are having. This means that we think you have a plan to
take your life, either today or in the future.
It’s not enough just to tell us you are not going to do it if everything else you
have said shows that actually you are really in danger. You need to help us
genuinely understand whether you are at risk or not. You can do this by being
as clear as you can about your feelings and plans throughout the conversation if we
contact you. It is helpful for us to know whether you feel safe and if you have access
or contact with any mental health or social work services in your area. With this
information, we can make an assessment as to whether we need to make the
decision to contact those specialist agencies/services in your area that could provide
you with the support you need.
If I contact you about my mental Illness and I tell you I am caring for children
would you break confidentiality?
We would not break confidentiality unless we had reason to believe the children in
your care were at risk of harm. We may ask you some questions about the children
you are caring for and it is helpful if you can be really clear with us about how you
are caring for the children.