Ethical and legal challenges within children's mental healthcare: Part 2 – decision-making, consent and capacity

by Dr Moli Paul


Last updated: July 2020


There are many ethical and legal challenges posed by making decisions with and about children and young people in relation to their mental healthcare within CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services). This module will concentrate on issues such as:


  • whose consent we should seek


  • what we should do when decision-makers disagree


  • how we can assess capacity to consent


  • what laws we should act within when assessing and treating children and young people.


In Part 1: duty of care and rights we considered:


  • to whom a duty of care is owed


  • how we can balance children and young people’s rights and their parents’ rights. 


Start the module



Please note there are (potential) upcoming changes to the law that will have implications for the content of this module:


  • the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019, which is due to come into force later in 2020 but the exact date is yet to be confirmed. It includes sections on 'Liberty Protection Safeguards'.


  • any replacement of the Human Rights Act 1998 when the United Kingdom exits from the European Union.

If you like this module, you may also be interested in:


Children's mental health within Scottish legislation by Dr Aileen Blower and Dr Tina Irani


Competence, capacity and decision-making ability in mental disorder by Dr J McCulloch and Dr M Taylor


Depression in children and adolescents: Part 1 and Part 2 by Dr Raphael Kelvin




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