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For the victims, data leaks often take an emotional or psychological toll, with psychiatrists in some cases reporting significant distress in their patients. As such, when a leak involves mental health data, the effects can be even more devastating as the victims may already have mental health problems or conditions.
To have an added stress on top of their day-to-day difficulties could be unbearable.
Unfortunately, data breaches at healthcare organisations hit the headlines all too frequently, suggesting that there are still wide-reaching failings in their approaches to data protection. At Your Lawyers – the Data Leak Lawyers – we appreciate that the ongoing stigma surrounding mental health issues can make the effects of such data leaks even more damaging. As a leading firm of data breach lawyers, we are here to support mental health patients who have been failed by the organisations that are supposed to ensure their safety when it comes to data and privacy.
As we have mentioned above, the mental health stigma is still a significant thing in the UK. In 2015, the UK government reported that nine in ten people with mental health problems were experiencing stigma and discrimination. With so much outward and inward hostility surrounding mental illness, there are significant concerns for the well-being of any mental health patients who fall victim to a breach.
For instance, if your diagnosis or therapy details are exposed to the public, some potential employers may discriminate against you if your mental health conditions are known. In addition, cybercriminals may be all too aware of the sensitivity of your mental health data, so they may regard this information as powerful fuel for blackmail.
A cyberattack targeting a Finnish mental health clinic demonstrates the extensive damage that can be caused when mental health data is exposed.
The attack affected tens of thousands of patients after information was reportedly stolen from the Vastaamo Clinic. The victims were subsequently blackmailed by the attackers, who claim they will release the records unless a bitcoin fee is paid.
Not only did the exposed information include identification details such as names and social security numbers, it is also understood to have featured transcripts of the patients’ sessions with their therapists. Some patients may not have realised that their notes were uploaded to servers either.
At Your Lawyers – the Data Leak Lawyers – we have represented clients for major healthcare data leaks, including the Blackpool NHS data leak, the 56 Dean Street Clinic leak, and the Charing Cross GIC leak, to name a few. We are very experienced when it comes to the worries and stress that can follow the exposure of such sensitive information. In the case of mental health data, the stakes can be higher, so if an organisation has failed to protect your information, you may have every right to claim compensation.
In a data leak claim, you could be eligible to receive compensation for any distress caused to you, as well as for any consequential losses or expenses, which could include the cost of further psychiatric treatment.
For free, no-obligation advice on your right to claim, contact us here today.
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