October 10, 2019
An “advance directive” is a legal tool to assure that people follow your wishes at some point in the future when you are not present or not able to express your desires yourself.
- For example, a Living Will is an advance directive about what kind of care you want to have if/when you are in a “terminal condition.”
- As another example, a Medical Power of Attorney lets you give instructions about your own medical care at times when you may not be conscious or able to make decisions.
A Mental Health Advance Directive is a tool for individuals with mental and behavioral health challenges, so they can describe their wishes about mental health treatment at times when they may be experiencing a crisis. Legal Aid has a lot of information about Mental Health Advance Directives on our web site. We offer three items to helping people understand their choices and create their own Mental Health Advance Directive:
- First, there’s an extensive set of Frequently Asked Questions, to help people understand exactly what they can do with a Mental Health Advance Directive, and what they need to think about before creating one.
- Second, Legal Aid has created a fill-in-the-blank Mental Health Advance Directive that someone might use. The law does not require any particular form or document, but there are some requirements in order to have a valid Mental Health Advance Directive. When properly filled out, the Legal Aid form will meet all legal requirements.
- Third, we have created a slide show that goes through the entire form, blank-by-blank, to explain exactly information can be put in each blank. Some parts of the document “must” be filled out;” other parts of the document are optional, for someone to use if they think it’s helpful or ignore if it doesn’t apply to their situation.
All of these are on the Legal Aid website at: http://www.lawv.net/Resources/Self-Help-Library/Individual-Rights/Mental-Health-Toolkit.