Ethics Case Study Scenarios Post-Partum Depression and Risk

Published: 2022-03-09
Ethics Case Study Scenarios Post-Partum Depression and Risk
Type of paper:  Case study
Categories:  Ethics Depression Social work
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1439 words
12 min read

Social work is a profession whose primary objective is to enhance the state of an individual and help them to meet the human needs. It pays close consideration to the empowerment and basic needs of individuals who for instance are oppressed, vulnerable or in a position of the less privileged. The defining feature that is dominant in social work is the professions ability to have a dual focus on the wellbeing of the people and the society in a social context. Social workers assist in impacting social change and social justice promotion mostly on behalf of individuals who they represent as clients. Social workers play an essential role in the society to end any aspects of discrimination, oppression, and any current social injustice. In their practice, social workers are sensitive to the ethnic and cultural diversity. This paper shall provide substantial on how to apply ethics in social work in Janie's case study.

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The NASW code offers principles, standards, and values that guide the conduct and the decision making when matters arise. The issues that could arise are for instance racism, ethnicity, religious differences, sexual orientation or mental ability (Reamer, 2013). These codes are crucial in Janie's case because in her current state of mind she is vulnerable. The values and principles include,

The first value, Service. The ethical principle states that the primary goal of every social worker is to assist the individuals in dire need to address the existing social difficulties. Janie is in need of assistance in her current state. A social worker should assist her to overcome the difficulties she faces for instance in her mental state she is suicidal. In the service of the people, a social worker with vast experience and knowledge will be of great help to change Janie's mindset. It is crucial for her to identify that there are no specific values, standards or principles, for instance, the NASW does not put in place a particular code of ethics. Janie in dealing with postpartum depression to do away with the suicidal thoughts in her current mental state and ability that is suicidal should get assistance.

The second, Social justice. The ethical principle postulates that the social workers will contest any form of social injustice. Social workers play an essential role in the society to ensure that the vulnerable in the society are not looked down upon or even injustices against them. In the case of Janie, she experienced emotional abuse and the unresolved dispute on the events leading to her adoption. In Janie's case, a social worker will be of help to assist in bringing social change on behalf or with her. The social worker will play a major role to ensure that she gets the information that she requires, for instance, Janie still does not know how she was adopted. It affects her mentally and full disclosure would play an important to assist her to recover from postpartum depression.

Third, individual worth and dignity. The ethical principle indicates respect by social workers for the inherent dignity and worth of an individual. In Janie's case, the social workers will seek to improve and enhance her ability and capacity to change and address her own needs without getting depressed. The social worker when dealing with Janie's case he or she will treat her situation and needs aware of the broader society's wants and interests in a manner that is professional and socially responsible. Janie has the feeling that she is not loved and has a contention on the emotional abuse she went through in the hands of her mother. She has not resolved her issues with her family of origin, and this issue of national origin has affected her and is part of her problems. A social worker in the bid to assist her deal with postpartum depression will help her to know her dignity and worth that supersedes her suicidal thoughts that will only see her lose her life.

The fourth value, human relationships importances. The ethical principle arising from this value is that the social workers identify human relationships importances. It brings about the issue of involuntary commitment in the case of Janie she does have a good relationship with her family of origin. Janie has suicidal thoughts when she is in the postpartum depression state where she does see herself as a worthy mother (Keefe, Brownstein-Evans, Lane, Carter & Polmanteer, 2016). The social workers know the relationships that exist between people and they seek to promote cordial relations among individuals to restore and enhance their families, and social groups well-being. A social worker with Janie as a client will try to promote and strengthen her relationship with her parents especially her mother who caused her emotional abuse.

Fifth value, integrity. The ethical principle in this is that the social worker's behavior must be in a manner that is trustworthy. The social workers have to display some level of dignity and be continually aware of their standards, values, and principles. In Janie's case, a social worker has to be honest for instance the church she left Mormon church was termed racist because of its practice. It was not her fault that the church had specific practices that are against sound ethical and moral values. She should not be worried because of her stand and believe in religion.

Sixth value, competence. The ethical principle states that the social workers enhance and develop professional expertise in their competence areas. The case of Janie brings forth aspects that make her vulnerable for instance her mental ability as a result of postpartum depression, racism, and religion as a consequence of Mormon church. An example is her suicidal attempts on a newborn child presents an ethical dilemma. A person with professional knowledge and competence will play a major role in guiding Janie in conceptualizing these issues that cause her the postpartum depression.

The NASW ethics code helps in the following purposes; Code number one identifies the principal values whose the task puts its basis on social work. Code number two makes a summary of the ethical principles which reflect on the social work profession fundamental values and set out precise standards to guide the practice of social work. Code number three is intended to assist the social workers to find the appropriate considerations in the event of ethical uncertainties or professional obligations conflict. Code number Four provides the ethical standards necessary for the public to hold to account the social work profession, for example, a social worker who helps Janie should be liable to her actions and accountable for them. Code number five socializes new practitioners to values, mission, ethical standards and principles in social work. Code number six provides the standards the profession of social work uses to evaluate if a social worker is involved conduct that is unethical. NASW has recognized steps and measures to determine the filed complaints.

The dilemmas to anticipate in social work in the case by Janie, for instance, committing of illegal deeds. In this case, Janie who is depressed has suicidal thoughts, and the best way to address these acts are by proper counseling. The social workers help the clients to mend their relationships. In the case study, Janie did not have a cordial relationship with her mother, and this was a result of her emotional abuse by her mother. To resolve this, the social worker should call in Janie's mother to mend their relationship and also inform her the importance of treating people with dignity (Ford & Richardson, 2013). Even the breach of the confidentiality contract in the case where Janie does not seem to be in her right mind. There are dilemmas that the social worker has to navigate through by communicating it with her family.

In conclusion, to resolve the anticipated dilemmas consult the NASW code on ethics. Review of the federal and state laws and make decisions that are strictly within the law. A social worker should seek supervision, and this will be helpful in difficult situations to be able to make sound decisions. Lastly, take your time to actualize and process what you learn before coming up with a decisive decision that may be beneficial or turn out to be detrimental.


Keefe, R. H., Brownstein-Evans, C., Lane, S. D., Carter, D. B., & Polmanteer, R. S. R. (2016). Postpartum depression and the Affordable Care Act: Recommendations for social work educators. Advances in Social Work, 16(2), 202-213.

Ford, R. C., & Richardson, W. D. (2013). Ethical decision making: A review of the empirical literature. In Citation classics from the Journal of Business Ethics (pp. 19-44). Springer, Dordrecht.

Reamer, F. G. (2013). Social work values and ethics. Columbia University Press.

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