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North Dakota Protection & Advocacy Project

News: May, 2008

Mental Health Advance Directives

Many decisions may need to be made for you if you have a mental health crisis or are involuntarily committed and lose capacity to make treatment decisions. For example, the choice of hospital, types of treatment, and who should be notified are decisions that could be made for you. Unfortunately, at the time of crisis, you may not be able to make your wishes known and therefore you may end up with others making decisions that you would not make.

If you have a concern that you may be subject to involuntary psychiatric commitment or treatment at some time in the future, you can prepare a legal document in advance to express your choices about mental health treatment. This type of document is commonly referred to as a mental health advance directive (or psychiatric advance directive). Through a mental health advance directive, you may also appoint an alternate decision-maker, or agent, to make treatment decisions for you if you become unable to express choices on your own behalf.

The Protection & Advocacy Project, and it Advisory Council for the Protection & Advocacy of Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI), has published a booklet (473kb pdf) explaining what a mental health advance directive is and how to prepare one in accordance with North Dakota State law. A user-friendly form (100kb pdf) is also available.

For assistance with completion of your mental health advance directive, you may contact the following:

Psychosocial Rehabilitation Centers

Centers for Independent Living

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