A “just” approach to uncertainty in mental health and capacity practice and policy – a King’s Policy Institute briefing report

As part of the Wellcome-funded Mental Health and Justice Project, the King’s Policy Institute held a Policy Lab in November 2021 to address the following question:

Where there is significant uncertainty affecting a decision in the mental health and capacity context, what would we aspire to as a “just” approach and how could different mechanisms support this?

There are many dimensions of uncertainty, and decisions taking place under uncertainty may have different levels of risk. In the Policy Lab we focused on decisions where there is high uncertainty but not high immediate risk, as we suggested this space provides the most scope to invest time and effort in ensuring a “just” approach to decision making.  Full disclosure, I led on the Lab, alongside Alex Pollitt of the Policy Lab, and facilitator Ross Pow of Power of Numbers.  A briefing report from the Lab, published in June 2022, summarises the key ideas produced, while accompanying appendices include a more detailed record of the day’s discussion and the briefing pack circulated to participants in advance.

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