The Influence of New York's SAFE Act on Individuals Seeking Mental Health Treatment
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Health Behavior and Community Health
Responding to mass shootings, some states have passed gun removal laws (e.g., NYS' SAFE Act), requiring that mental health professionals report patients who might potentially harm themselves/others. The purpose of this study was to assess whether knowledge of the SAFE Act impacts patients' mental health treatment-seeking and symptom-reporting behaviors. Patients at two mental health centers were surveyed during 2014-2018. Participants were asked if they would be concerned about being reported to county government, likelihood of seeking mental health treatment, and willingness to report mental health symptoms/behaviors given the SAFE Act's provisions. 228 patients (71.5% response rate) completed questionnaires. About 18% were concerned about being reported to county government, 9% would be less likely to seek mental health treatment, and about 23% would be less willing to report mental health symptoms/behaviors. Although these behaviors were not affected for most participants, there was a small minority who were concerned and less willing to report mental health symptoms/behaviors.
Charder, N., Liberatos, P., Trobiano, M., Dornbush, R. L., Way, B. B., & Lerman, A. (2021). The Influence of New York's SAFE Act on Individuals Seeking Mental Health Treatment. The Psychiatric Quarterly, 92 (2), 473-487. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11126-020-09816-4