Psychiatric Advanced Directives
Psychiatric Advance Directives
Psychiatric or mental health advance directives are legal tools that allow people experiencing mental illness to state preferences for treatment in advance of a crisis. Advance directives go into effect when a person is found to lack decision-making capacity by a treating physician or psychologist. They are similar to living wills and can protect a person’s autonomy and ability to self-direct care.
Psychiatric advance directives have existed for a long time. However, in many clinical settings, they have been used infrequently, and not all professionals are aware of their existence. Even when aware, some clinicians struggle to incorporate them into systems.
The following resources support the implementation of advance directives into treatment systems:
- Advance Directives Systems Checklist – to help assess and implement policies in systems
- Advance Directives Sample Policy – to use when developing policies that support advance directives in recovery-oriented systems
- SAMHSA’s Practical Guide to Advance Directives
- Additional Advance Directives Resources