This chapter is concerned with the values and ethics underpinning approved mental health practice, these terms are often used interchangeably and it should be noted that while linked they are in fact separate considerations. The understanding of both is crucial for any textbook exploring the complexities of approved mental health practice. Here, the author considers how ethics and values are subject to changes over time and are dependent on context. Mental health legislation is underpinned by principles. In turn, approved mental health practice is based on a values-based approach. But, does it follow that approved mental health practice is therefore always ethical? This chapter seeks to discuss the dilemmas that this question poses. It discusses the balance required between personal values and the requirements of approved mental health practice alongside the impact of professional and organizational perspectives. In addition other considerations such as economic pressures and practical considerations complicate decision making. A balance is not always possible and conflict can emerge. Underpinned by philosophical considerations pertaining to risk taking, the chapter concludes with a discussion about the needs of the individual and those of society. Consideration of the literature concerning the use of Community Treatment Orders is provided as a contemporary challenge to ethical decision making. As is the case throughout the book this chapter raises the issues for consideration and concludes that there are no certain answers.
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