An individual lacks mental capacity due to wide-ranging medical conditions and psychiatric disorders. Depression is a form of psychiatric disorder which may affect mental capacity. As experts in mental capacity assessments, we understand that depression often occurs with anxiety, but both conditions can occur alone.
If a person is considered to lack mental capacity due to depression, please speak to one of our experts at Mental Capacity Assess for an assessment.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental health condition that causes low mood, lack of interest or satisfaction, feelings of worthlessness, low energy, and poor concentration. Depression and mental capacity can be interlinked as such a condition can impair a person’s decision-making ability which is required to make important financial and health care decisions.
What is the Case Law for Mental Capacity Assessment for depression?
The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) in the UK applies to the cases where, at a given time, a person is in a position not to make a specific decision because, for example, their brain is compromised by any disability due to a medical condition. It sets out the legal basis for decision taking on behalf of people who lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions.
There may be times where someone may not be able to make a decision when they are depressed but when they feel better they will be able to make the decision. It may be the case that at a certain moment the person lacks the ability to make a specific decision, but that does not mean that an individual lacks the mental capacity to make any decisions at all, and for these reasons a capacity assessment is necessary.
Four abilities (understanding, appreciation, reasoning, and capacity to communicate) are generally tested when assessing psychiatric mental capacity assessment and the degree to which depression affects the ability to make decisions.
What needs to be considered when making a decision on behalf of the person who lacks the mental capacity?
Every decision taken on the affected depressed person’s behalf will be done in their ‘best interests.’ It is the case if the person making the decision on behalf of the individual without mental capacity is a caretaker, a lasting power of attorney (LPA,) someone who is court-appointed, or a professional. Who can really actually take the best interest decision will depend on that decision and whether someone has the legal right to make the decision.
Whether the decision concerns property or financial affairs and a family member or friend has a lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs or someone is appointed by the court for property and financial affairs, the family member or friend will be the decision-maker. If there is no lasting power of attorney or court-appointed deputy then the professional involved may be the decision-maker.
Consult with Mental Capacity Assess
If you have a client suffering from severe depression and seeking a mental capacity assessment, please get in touch with Mental Capacity Assess.