Mental Health Awareness Week

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In a recent conversation with a friend she described how her uncle was suffering from depression.“But there is nothing wrong with him” had said her aunt.

Clinical depression is an illness, which can be treated either with medication and/or with support and therapy.The illness is far more debilitating than simply “feeling down in the dumps” and may render someone unable to leave the house, let alone hold down their job.But the illness is not necessarily one that can be seen by others.

People with learning difficulties, and those on the autistic spectrum may also be unable to carry out functions that most (“neuro-typical”) people are able to deal without thinking.Again, apart from being able to see that they are unable to do something there is often no visible sign of their disability.

Acquired brain injuries, depression, learning difficulties and autism are all mental health issues which are regularly unseen and may not be immediately visible (if at all).This week’s theme for mental health awareness week centres around whole body image and how that impacts on both mental and physical health.Again, poor self-image is not something that is necessarily seen by others.

People with a physical disability often have more visible symptoms and as result their disability can be recognised more easily.They may be given assistance when getting onto or alighting from a train, but their mental capacity is often completely unaffected by their physical impairment.As result, legally, they can make their own decisions.Someone with mental health issues however may lack mental capacity and may therefore be unable to take certain decisions for themselves.

Whether a child (irrespective of whether they are an adult or under 18) has mental health issues or physical disabilities, their parents will need to carefully consider how they wish to leave their assets in their Will.Does their child rely on benefits and will those be affected by an inheritance?Does their child have a package of care organised by the local authority which would be affected by the inheritance?What options were available to the parents?Should their Wills have a Discretionary (or other) Trust, and if so, who should be the trustees?

A good letter of wishes prepared by the parent can also be extremely useful for those who then need to either care for the child or for those acting as trustees.

Whilst their child is under 18, guardians should also be appointed to look after the child, to help the court appoint someone appropriate.

Good advice is a necessity to ensure that the child’s needs are met and the parents’ wishes achieved.

To find more about this please contact Charles Fraser.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.