Making your own decision about your mental healthcare/treatment
Three conditions needed to have capacity
Every person is seen to be capable of making decisions about their own mental healthcare or treatment if they can: understand all relevant information necessary to make the decision, understand all reasonably foreseeable consequences of making or not making the decision, and, be able to communicate the decision they have made.
A mental health practitioner — clinical psychologist, mental health nurse, or a psychiatric social worker — may determine whether a person has the capacity to make mental healthcare and treatment decisions.
Alternative option when a person is lacking capacity
An advance directive will be used when a person does not have the capacity to make decisions about their own mental healthcare or treatment. It will be effective until the person regains this capacity.
Inclusive access to information and choice to communicate
The information must be given to the person using simple language, which they understand. Or, it must be given using sign language, visual aids or any other means that will enable them to understand it.
Is there such a thing as a wrong decision?
So long as the person making this decision is seen as capable of doing all three activities mentioned previously, other people’s disagreement about the decision made is not enough to prove that the person does not have the capacity to make these decisions for themselves.
Legal guardian to step in
The minor’s legal guardian will make decisions about the minor’s mental health and treatment, up until they are eighteen years old.
Questioning the legal guardian's actions
An application can be made to the district mental health review board by a mental health professional or any person who is acting in the best interests of the minor.
Based on the evidence the board might take a decision to appoint someone else who is suitable to take decisions on the minor’s behalf.