Guidelines for Ethical Decision Making for Correctional Mental Health Providers

Making healthy choices for normal day to day life happens to be a task that would most likely require a good level of calculation and deliberation.

Decision making may sound like an easy thing to do until we are involved in a dilemma that requires adequately thought out decisions.

It is quite common for prisoners to fall into mental illness usually based on a host of reasons like having to deal with weird thoughts when locked up alone, adapting to the odd new environment and people, depression, and anxiety from worries about survival and many other reasons.

It is the duty of the correctional mental health providers to help this category of people better find safety and wellness by building around them a firm wall of confidence and self-awareness.

Making the right decisions as to the best way to handle a mental health situation may be quite difficult, especially considering the fact that the task involves another human being who may not be having it well at the moment.

Guidelines for Ethical Decision Making

Making day to day decisions about how we live, what we eat, what we wear, or even who we choose to talk to maybe totally dependent on our personal perception about life.

Ethical decisions, on the other hand, require proper deliberation and following ethical standards which include virtue (honesty, tolerance, forgiveness, compassion, mutual understanding, and others); fairness (treating everybody equally); common good (helping to ensure that everyone is protected and pursuing a mutual good goal); rights (before making ethical decisions, care should be taken to ensure that nobody’s rights are being trampled upon)

The best leadership decisions ever made may happen to be unethical, that is, it may not carry along every standard of ethics. To make a properly guided decision as a correctional mental health provider, one must consider the following as guidelines.

5 Guidelines

Define the problem

The first and most important step to take in making the appropriate decision, whether ethical or not is ensuring that you know the actual problem that you’re about to deal with. How big is it? How long has it been there? Answering these questions will help you fully know what you’re up against.

Suggest a variety of possible solutions

After fully understanding the problem and figuring out why and how the individual fell into the illness, the next step is to draw up a solution to the problem with multiple alternatives to choose from.

Decide the length of the proposed solution

How long do you expect this process to last? You have to bear it in mind that mental health issues aren’t supposed to be done with haste or the issue might get even worse.

Make the decision

Now you have to decide which one of the several solutions will work best to give you the desired result. Remember that if the solution doesn’t seem to be helping, you can easily switch to the next best alternative.


You have decided, and now you must act upon your decision. This is where you need to bring the paper work to fruition. This is where the process must take effect, otherwise, you have to revisit your suggested solutions.

As a mental health provider, you don’t only follow these decision-making guidelines, you ensure that you combine them with ethics.