Is it illegal to cause emotional and mental abuse to a person who disclosed information to you?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Is it illegal to cause emotional and mental abuse to a person who disclosed information to you?

I disclosed mental health information to a roommate and what I do when I go through an episode. I leave and seek help then I return after so I will not affect them. I informed my roommate the date I would return and before that happened she decided to throw away all my belongings and then disclose my mental health information to co-workers. Then used the mental health information to purposefully trigger an episode before the agreed upon date was reached. I paid all bills, I had an open point of contact, I did not damage anything.

The explanation as to way was that I did not help her clean and I should go to a psych ward.

Asked on August 27, 2019 under Personal Injury, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A person cannot do something itself illegal to cause you emotional or mental abuse, such as threatening you with violence or extortion, or posting harmful things online under your name, as if they were you, etc. But the law does not prevent person A from saying harmful or hurtful things to person B; it does not prevent them from doing things that are legal for them, even if it is a "trigger" for another person (e.g. say a person is sensitive to and distressed by loud sounds; since it is legal for a person to play music, however, that person's roommate could legally play his/her radio); and does not prevent a person from disclosing information you shared with them (e.g. about your mental health status) with others, unless that person had signed a confidentiality agreement of some kind (when you tell things to another person, you run the risk they will repeat them). While this is unfortunate, it does not appear anything actually illegal was done other than throwing away your belongings: you could sue for the value of what she disposed of.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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