With rapidly increasing usage of social media for purposes of networking, marketing, professional development, and formal and informal communications, we are living in interesting (and challenging) times as mental health professionals. As social workers, these are some murky waters we have to figure out how to navigate through, and until recently, our Code of Ethics provided little instruction on how to go about this successfully (and ethically). Fifteen years ago, identifying how to ethically traverse the Facebook world was not something we as social workers had to consider, but now, it is a very real task we face.
As some of you may know, the NASW has recently released an updated Code of Ethics with 19 new standards and revisions that address technology! Thank you NASW! In a few minutes we will be hopping on a webinar with the ASWB and will be putting out a blog next week talking through how these changes will impact the exam (if at all). We thought it appropriate to give you a technology related practice question for you to mull over today. One of our former TDC users recently brought a similar real-life situation to us, and it seemed timely in light of the Code of Ethics changes. We are eager to hear your thoughts on this one and will post the answer and rationale tomorrow!
A social worker has been meeting with a 15 year old female for the past two years around issues of anxiety and depression. The social worker learns that her client’s mother, who suffered from Bipolar Disorder and saw her own therapist, recently committed suicide. The social worker posts on a public Facebook group for social workers, “A teenage client lost her mother, Cassandra, to suicide on October 21st. Cassandra suffered from Bipolar Disorder and saw a counselor herself. This serves as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to prevent these tragedies. My heart is heavy today.” This use of technology is:
A. Both legal and ethical
B. Illegal and unethical
C. Legal, but unethical
D. Illegal, but ethical
So, what do you think? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale!