This paper seeks to highlight a suicidal case study involving a 17-year-old teenager named Frank who made the shocking suicidal revelations to a counselor. From the conversation that Frank had with his counselor, we learn that he never had good relationship with his parents. He is an introvert who is socially withdrawn from the rest of the world and bitterly irritated with his parents. Besides, recently Frank’s girlfriend broke up with him; consequently, his school grades had dropped drastically. In the light of these reasons, Frank contemplates following his friend’s steps who committed suicide last year after experiencing similar tribulations (Ponton, 2009).
The ethical dilemma in the suicidal teenager case study involves the issue of confidentiality between the two parties, namely Frank and his counselor. Following the shocking revelations that Frank divulged to the counselor regarding his intention to commit suicide, the counselor finds himself in a dilemma. He is faced with the option of either remaining silent as per the provisions of confidentiality code or revealing the truth to Frank’s parents.
The American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) ethical code number two entitled confidentiality relates to the dilemma that exists between Frank and the counselor. This AMHCA code of ethics states that counselors should primarily safeguard the information obtained during interaction or discussion. Under these circumstances, the counselor is not allowed to share any piece of information acquired from other third party entities without the consent of Frank. Consequently, this ethical code provides the basis for the existence of the dilemma that the paper seeks to address (Ponton, 2009).
As a counselor, some of the potential actions I would take include establishing trust between the suicidal victim and me. This first step is very important, because it determines whether the victim would decide to cooperate, open up, and share his or her feelings or decide not to cooperate at all. In addition, I would prefer involving Frank’s parents in the decision-making process to make sure I arrive at an effective solution. This is because Frank’s high rate of suicidality may lead to a tragic loss of life if the necessary measures are not taken in advance. In tandem with this, sharing my thoughts with Frank’s parents would not necessarily be a breach of confidentiality. In the end, the creation of a conducive living environment for Frank would not only save his life but also make him understand the need to involve his parents in daily life activities (ACA, 2014).
I would use an all-inclusive decision-making model in solving the dilemma that Frank and the counselor face. I believe that human life is sacred and priceless and should therefore be guarded and protected above all. The input of Frank’s parents would be monumental in mending and recreating a broken and almost non-existent relationship (Herlihy, 2015). For that reason, as a counselor, I would have involved the parents of Frank to provide a way forward for the good of everybody involved. This is the one thing that I would have done differently as compared to the rest of other counselors who may vow to keep their conversation private and confidential. Together with the parents, we all have a collective responsibility of rehabilitating Frank and ensuring that he leads a normal and stabilized life, just like his fellow teenagers.
As a final point, the best solution to the case under discussion involves the decision to involve Frank’s parents into the decision-making process. As well, encouraging them to build a warm and loving relationship with their son would go a long way in calming down Frank’s intense suicidal desire. Without a shadow of doubt, this would be the best decision since it would ensure that both the life and future of Frank are taken care of (Ponton, 2009).
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