Psychiatric Advance Directives
Similar to a medical advance directive or a health care power of attorney, a psychiatric advance directive is a legal document completed in a time of wellness that provides instructions regarding treatment or services one wishes to have or not have during a mental health crisis, and may help influence his or her care. A mental health crisis is when a person is unable to make or communicate rational decisions.
A psychiatric advance directive allows you to specify considerations about your mental health care treatment and appoint an agent who may make decisions about your treatment in the event of a mental health crisis. In some cases, you may also give further background information about how you have reacted to past treatment.
Despite these benefits, a survey of mental health experts concluded the underuse of psychiatric advance directives in the United States; this study surveyed 1,011 people with serious mental illness receiving public-sector treatment in 5 cities.
On the My Plan, My Life Web site, you will find comprehensive and easy-to-understand information for individuals with mental illness, their families and health care professionals. On the site you can learn about the importance of psychiatric advance directives as a tool for communicating specifics about one’s care during a mental health crisis and how to prepare your own directive.
My Plan, My Life: My Psychiatric Advance Directive is brought to you by Mental Health America and sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.