Psychiatric advance directives
Psychiatric Advance Directives
Psychiatric Advance Directives Toolkit
The Mental Health America envisions a just, humane and healthy society in which all people are accorded respect, dignity and the opportunity to achieve their full potential free from stigma and prejudice. Consistent with this philosophy, MHA supports and promotes the use of psychiatric advance directives as a tool for the expression of an individual’s free will and self-determination.
Psychiatric advance directives offer several key benefits. Correctly implemented and executed, they can:
- Promote individual autonomy and empowerment in the recovery from mental illness;
- Enhance communication between individuals and their families, friends, healthcare providers, and other professionals;
- Protect individuals from being subjected to ineffective, unwanted, or possibly harmful treatments or actions; and
- Help in preventing crises and the resulting use of involuntary treatment or safety interventions such as restraint or seclusion.
Psychiatric advance directives offer an approach to personal empowerment and crisis prevention that has not been widely used. Although psychiatric advance directives cannot solve the basic problems of mental health systems that are under-funded, fragmented, and often coercive, they do offer an opportunity for consumers of mental health services to express their preferences for treatment and services during psychiatric crises.
The successful use of psychiatric advance directives will require the intentional participation of consumers of mental health services, family members, healthcare providers and other professionals. Such collaboration can be facilitated through community dialogues, training and public education. Effectively implemented, psychiatric advance directives offer many benefits for persons diagnosed with mental illnesses, their friends and families, and the healthcare, social service and legal professions that serve them.
MHA has developed a toolkit of resources for organizations and individuals to use in promoting the successful implementation of psychiatric advance directives in their local communities.
Please download the components below:
- Policy Position
- Issue Summary (PDF)
- Considerations for Legislation (PDF)
- Training Module (PDF)
- Practice Worksheet (PDF)
- Glossary (PDF)
This document was developed by Mental Health America as part of the Targeted Technical Assistance project of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) and the Division of State and Community Systems Development (Mental Health Block Grant) of the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.