Raising Mental Capacity Awareness: 
Empowering Individuals and Shattering Stigmas 

Mental Capacity Awareness is everybody business across Health and Social Care

In our society, physical health is often prioritised and discussed openly, while mental health remains shrouded in stigma and misunderstanding. However, mental capacity, which refers to a person's ability to make informed decisions and understand the consequences of their actions, is an essential aspect of overall well-being. By raising awareness about mental capacity and fostering a supportive environment, we can empower individuals, reduce discrimination, and promote inclusive communities. In this blog, we will explore the importance of mental capacity awareness and how it can positively impact our lives.

Understanding Mental Capacity

Mental capacity refers to an individual's ability to understand, retain, and evaluate information in order to make decisions that affect their own lives. It encompasses various aspects, such as comprehension, memory, logical reasoning, and judgment. Mental capacity can be affected by a range of factors, including cognitive disabilities, mental health conditions, neurological disorders, and the natural aging process.

Challenging Stigmas

One of the biggest barriers to mental capacity awareness is the prevailing stigma surrounding mental health. This stigma often leads to discrimination, isolation, and the denial of opportunities for individuals with mental health conditions or cognitive disabilities. By challenging these stigmas and fostering a culture of understanding and acceptance, we can create an environment that respects and supports everyone's mental capacity.

Promoting Empowerment

Awareness of mental capacity empowers individuals to exercise their rights and make decisions that align with their values and aspirations. Recognising and respecting a person's mental capacity involves providing them with the necessary information in a format they can understand, allowing them to express their preferences, and involving them in decision-making processes. By doing so, we promote autonomy, self-determination, and the dignity of every individual.

 Education and Training 

Promoting mental capacity awareness requires education and training for professionals in various fields. Healthcare providers, legal practitioners, educators, and community leaders should receive training to understand the complexities of mental capacity and develop the skills to engage with individuals who may have diverse cognitive abilities. By equipping professionals with the necessary knowledge and tools, we can enhance the quality of care and support provided to individuals with mental capacity challenges.

Building Inclusive Communities

Creating inclusive communities is key to supporting mental capacity awareness. It involves fostering environments that celebrate diversity, where individuals feel safe to express themselves, and where accommodations are readily available. Inclusive communities promote social integration, reduce isolation, and provide opportunities for individuals to participate fully in all aspects of life.

In a nutshell, see what Jackie, one of our trainers and also an Independent Social Worker shares with you about Mental Capacity Awareness: 

Mental Capacity Awareness is everybody business across Health and Social Care
  • The Mental Capacity Act 2005 is a law in England and Wales that provides a framework to empower and protect vulnerable people who are not able to make their own decisions.
  • MCA has been in force since 2007 and applies to England and Wales. The primary purpose of the MCA is to promote and safeguard decision-making within a legal framework.
  • It does this in two ways:
  1. By empowering people to make decisions for themselves wherever possible, and by protecting people who lack capacity by providing a flexible framework that places individuals at the heart of the decision-making process
  2. By allowing people to plan ahead for a time in the future when they might lack the capacity.
What are the 5 key principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005?

Principle  1:  A presumption of capacity


Principle 2:  Individuals being supported to make their own 


Principle 3:  Unwise decisions


Principle 4:  Best interests


Principle 5:  Less restrictive option

These 5 key principles should guide your practice when working with any person over 16.


5 key principles which are essential to any Mental Capacity assessment, it is really important that you take each principle in turn from 1 to 5 


Principe 1,2,3 will support the process before or at the point of determining whether someone lacks capacity. 


Once you’ve decided that capacity is lacking, use principles 4 and 5 to support the decision-making process.


As a Healthcare Professional, you are legally required to make an assessment of capacity before carrying out any care or treatment – the more serious the decision, the more formal the assessment of capacity needs to be.


CQC can look at your staff awareness of MCA and request copies of your mental capacity assessment and care records   to ensure that your organisation is complying with the Act’s requirement. CQC can and do also check if your decision making has involved family members and others who have an interest in the person welfare. 

Want to find out more about Mental Capacity Act 2005?

If you would like to find out more about Mental Capacity Act 2005 

you can attend our Mental Capacity Act training which includes:

  • Overview of the Mental Capacity Act
  • Details of the 5 principles and how this relates to your role within health care
  • How to assess capacity following the Supreme Court judgement in 2021 which provides the lasted guidance on how to assess capacity
  • Best interest decision making  and how to make decisions in a person best interest if you have assessed that they lack capacity to make a specific decision
  • Role of court of protection in complex health related decisions   
     
Jackie Hodgkinson 
Independent Social Worker Registered with SW England 
Conclusion 

Raising mental capacity awareness is vital for creating a society that respects and values the rights and autonomy of individuals with diverse cognitive abilities. By challenging stigmas, promoting empowerment, providing support, and building inclusive communities, we can create a world where everyone's mental capacity is acknowledged and celebrated. Let us work together to ensure that mental capacity is understood, respected, and protected, allowing every individual to live a life of dignity and fulfilment.

 

We hope you have enjoyed reading this short blog.  If you would like further training in Mental Health issues, safeguarding or any other topics relevant to your role check out our events calendar.  

 

If you can't see what you are looking for, drop us a line via our contact page.

 

Dovetail Medical Events Team
 

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