niagara County - Lockport

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SAFE Act & Mental Health

For Licensed Mental Health Professionals:

As of March 16, 2013, the Secure Ammunitions and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act adds Mental Hygiene Law 9.46, which places a responsibility on Licensed Mental Health Professionals (which the law defines as Physicians, Psychologists, Registered Nurses, and Licensed Clinical Social Workers) to use their "reasonable professional judgement" to report to the Director of Community Services, "individuals who are likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others." The subject of the report is not required to own or possess a weapon for this report to be made. Other Licensed Professionals may not report via the SAFE Act.

Reports are to be made electronically via a NY Office of Mental Health web portal. The report will be directed to the Director of Community Services in the County where the individual resides. Click on the links below to make a report, read the law, or to view Frequently Asked Questions or other announcements.

Click here to access the NY Office of Mental Health web portal to Report

Mental Hygiene law 9.46

* § 9.46 Reports of substantial risk or threat of harm by mental health professionals.

(a)  For  purposes  of  this  section,   the   term   "mental   health professional"  shall include a physician, psychologist, registered nurse or licensed clinical social worker.

(b) Notwithstanding any other law  to  the  contrary,  when  a  mental health  professional  currently providing treatment services to a person determines, in the exercise of reasonable  professional  judgment,  that such  person is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others, he or she shall be required to report,  as  soon as practicable, to the director of community services, or the director's designee,  who shall report to the division of criminal justice services whenever he or she agrees that the person is likely to  engage  in  such conduct.  Information  transmitted  to  the division of criminal justice services shall be limited to names and  other  non-clinical  identifying information,  which  may  only be used for determining whether a license issued pursuant to section 400.00 of the penal law should  be  suspended or  revoked,  or  for  determining  whether a person is ineligible for a license issued pursuant to section 400.00 of the penal law,  or is  no longer permitted under state or federal law to possess a firearm.

(c)  Nothing  in  this  section shall be construed to require a mental health professional to  take  any  action  which,  in  the  exercise  of reasonable  professional  judgment,  would  endanger  such mental health professional or increase the danger to a potential victim or victims.

(d) The decision of a mental health professional to disclose or not to disclose in accordance with this section, when made  reasonably  and  in good  faith,  shall not be the basis for any civil or criminal liability of such mental health professional.

* NB Effective March 16, 2013

Links:

Webcast for providers (and handout)

OMH's Safe Act Home (announcements and general information)
 
OMH FAQ's (Frequently asked questions)

OMH's Guidance Documents

SAFE Act Law