Mental Health

Mental Health

Counselling helpline for members

As a BAcC Member your professional insurance cover includes access to a free legal helpline for all legal matters affecting your practice. For example, if you are involved in a dispute with a patient, or need contractual advice negotiating the leasehold of your practice premises, quality legal advice is always available and just a phone call away.

The service is operated by ARAG Legal and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The free legal advice is provided by a team of experienced lawyers and is completely confidential. There is no time limit applied to calls so you will receive all the advice you need, exactly when you need it.

Contact numbers:

Legal and tax advice: 0344 571 7978
Confidential counselling:               0333 000 2082

Business legal services website:  https://araglegal.secureclient.co.uk/arag/

Voucher code – X1232KC79BB5

Advice for practitioners where patients are threatening to self-harm

The question of what to do when a patient says they are considering committing suicide raises some complex ethical issues.

The primary concern of the acupuncture practitioner is to try to encourage the patient to seek suitably qualified help within the conventional medical system; although many BAcC members have extremely good listening skills, dealing with potential suicides requires specialist training and referrals.

The Samaritans, for example, take great care to ensure their volunteers are highly trained. What the practitioner cannot do is to override the patient’s wishes if they refuse to seek help.

The duty of care to the patient to respect their confidentiality extends even to this area, and only if the patient says that they are going to kill themselves in a way which puts the general public at risk might there be a case for breaching the patient’s confidentiality. We tell members to contact us if this situation ever arises, and we can get legal advice for them relevant to the individual circumstances of the case.

For more details, please see the Code of Professional Conduct: ‘Your obligations to your patients’ and ‘Your legal obligations’.

Looking after ourselves

All of us who make up the BAcC understand how much uncertainty has resulted from this crisis. Everyone should take steps to support their mental health and that of their patients.

There is some very helpful advice to be found on the Mind website.

It’s also worth reminding ourselves of the following simple self-care measures that every one of us can adopt:

  • take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media, because hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting
  • look after your body: take deep breaths, stretch, and/or meditate; try to eat healthy, well balanced meals; exercise regularly; get plenty of sleep; avoid too much alcohol
  • make time to unwind: try to do some activities you enjoy
  • connect with others: talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling